The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) has been re-chartered to add a consumer group representative; USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

Established in 1988, NACMCF formulates positions on the development of microbiological criteria, the review and evaluation of epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards in foods. 

The committee provides recommendations to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (HHS) on microbiological criteria by which the safety and wholesomeness of food can be assessed. That work includes criteria for microorganisms that indicate whether foods have been adequately and appropriately processed. 

“NACMCF provides valuable information and recommendations to FSIS that further promote our food safety and foodborne illness prevention actions,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza.

The Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Secretary of HHS appoints NACMCF members, with the advice on membership from the Departments of Commerce and Defense. 

There are currently 18 members on the Committee; an additional 12 members will be appointed in 2011.

The balance of the committee membership consists of government and non-government scientists acting under special appointment. 

NACMCF members are chosen because of their expertise in microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science and other relevant disciplines including one member representing a consumer group.

Additional NACMCF information, including the current charter for the NACMCF, is available at or by contacting Karen Thomas-Sharp at (202) 690-6620.