Photo of 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.

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. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-grocery-store-produce-section-display-image26986155The only thing that got FSMA through Congress — and those…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

Last week, Jensen Farms, the grower of the cantaloupe implicated in the Listeria outbreak of 2011, filed for bankruptcy. Prominently listed in the filing were lawsuits associated with the outbreak, from which 146 people were sickened and 36 died. According to the Denver Post, Jensen’s attorney said the filing should free up millions of…