On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that the agency is now accepting nominations for new members for the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods.


FSIS is seeking nominations for two-year terms from individuals with a variety of different backgrounds, but specified interest for those with scientific expertise in the fields of biostatistics, risk assessment, chemistry, toxicology, microbiology, food technology, epidemiology, infectious disease and other related fields.


The agency is seeking nominees both affiliated with government agencies and those who are not. Members who are not federal employees will be appointed to serve as non-compensated special government employees and will be subject to conflict of interest statutes and standards of ethical conduct. Those who are employed by state or federal governments, industry, academia, or consumer groups are all invited to submit nominations.


FSIS is also seeking nominations for one individual to serve as a consumer advocate on the board. This person does not need to have a scientific background but should be affiliated with a consumer group and be prepared to provide a consumer perspective for the board.


This committee was established in 1988 to provide scientific advice on public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply. A USDA press release from late May describes the duties of the group, “The committee also assists in the development of microbiological criteria and reviews and evaluates epidemiological and risk assessment data as well as methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards.” Members are expected to fill a two year term with meetings up to twice a year and subcommittee meetings as needed.


The committee serves to assist the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Health and Human services (the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Commerce, and Defense. 


Currently, the committee consists of nineteen members. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appointed these members in late May, but is seeking ten more to fill up the full 30-member committee.


The nominee’s typed resume or curriculum vitae must be limited to five one-sided pages and should include educational background, expertise and a select list of publications authored.


Nominations and submissions must be received by August 9, 2010, and should be sent to Karen Thomas-Sharp, advisory committee specialist, Room 333, Aerospace Center, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, D.C. 20250. Thomas-Sharp can be reached at (202) 690-6620, by fax at (202) 690-6634, or at Karen.Thomas-Sharp@fsis.usda.gov.


The Federal Register Notice can be found here.