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Dr. David Acheson

Dr. David Acheson

David W.K. Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P, is a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner for Foods, which gave him an agency-wide leadership role for all food and feed issues, including health promotion and nutrition. From August 2009 until October 2013, Dr. Acheson was Managing Director for Food and Import Safety at Leavitt Partners LLC, a consulting firm with offices in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. He is currently president and CEO of The Acheson Group, an independent spinoff of Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions.

Articles Written by Dr. David Acheson

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Will FSMA Make a Difference?


To answer the question of whether the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will make a difference, I want to take a look historically at why FSMA ever got passed by Congress. To do this, I have to wind the clock back almost 10 years. The only thing that got FSMA through Congress — and those… Continue Reading

Can a Top-Level Federal Food Safety Assessment Really Be Accurate?


(This opinion piece by Dr. David Acheson was published here on Feb. 14, 2015, and is reposted with his permission.) Historically, FDA and FSIS have not been really cooperative when it comes to food safety: Each agency has a separate funding stream and is under separate departments, and, in a variety of ways, they are inherently… Continue Reading

Prolonged Procrastination on Petitions Compounds Agencies’ Problems


(This blog post by Dr. David Acheson was published June 12, 2014, on The Acheson Group blog and is republished here with his permission.) On May 25, 2011, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned USDA to declare certain strains of antibiotic-resistant (ABR) Salmonella in ground meat and poultry to be adulterants. Three… Continue Reading

Are All Salmonella Created Equal?


With each passing poultry-associated Salmonella outbreak over the past few years, there has been an increased focus on this pathogen and its control. Along with that is an increasing use of the term “virulent.” But what does “virulent” really mean, and should we worry about some strains being more virulent than others? Does evading mitigation… Continue Reading

Determining the “High Risk Foods”: Another Analysis Sees Things Differently


The numbers say that the most outbreaks and illnesses are attributable to produce, but, in reality, fruits and vegetables are really quite safe. How can this be? A new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) takes a look at the number of cases of foodborne illness relative to the amount eaten. That is, when… Continue Reading

Third-Party Audits – Their Crucial Role in Moving Forward With FSMA and Food Safety


I recently had the honor of speaking at the 2012 Safe Quality Food International Conference in Cincinnati on the topic of the crucial role of third-party audits in moving forward with FSMA and food safety. In the talk, I spent time looking at what is working well with third-party audit systems, and where some of… Continue Reading

A Call to Industry: Educate the Media to Educate the Consumer


Pink Slime vs. lean, finely textured beef. Photos of rats with tumors vs. scientists disputing study methods. Conventionally grown produce vs. local and/or organically grown. Each has been the subject of media “attention.”  And as the inaccuracies in the statements reveal, articles on each have too often been published without true understanding, knowledge or representation… Continue Reading

FSMA Delay Spurs Curious Partnerships and Regulation Pleas

But these efforts are likely to have zero impact


In an industry traditionally anxious to be self policing and oppose regulation, the tide has turned. The first evidence of this was in 2006 after the large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to spinach, when the produce industry was seriously requesting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration develop regulations around fresh produce. Since then,… Continue Reading

Should the Microbiological Data Program Be Saved?

Maybe ... Maybe not...


After nearly being chopped from existence, the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP) has been saved for the remainder of 2012. However its future existence is questionable. MDP is a national foodborne pathogen monitoring program implemented in 2001. Through cooperation with State agriculture departments and other federal agencies, MDP manages the collection, analysis, data entry and… Continue Reading

FSMA Related Import Programs Taking Shape


Everyone with even a cursory interest in FSMA continues to ask, “So when are the four key proposed rules (Produce Safety Standards, Preventive Controls for Human Food, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Program) going to be published?”  I have to confess right up front that I don’t have any better idea… Continue Reading