- On March 22, 2018, Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, addressed the audience at the Future Food-Tech Summit about FDA’s role in supporting innovation in food technology. Dr. Mayne divided her talk into four key questions:
(1) How can food-tech innovators get the support and information they need from FDA to bring a product to market that is safe and lawful?
(2) What is the thought process behind the regulation of composition, quality, safety and labeling of foods?
(3) How can regulatory bodies and food-tech innovators better collaborate to achieve greater success in scaling truly innovative solutions?
(4) How is the convergence of biotech and digital technologies shaping the future of food?
- Throughout her speech, Dr. Mayne highlighted the importance of consulting FDA early in the process – “We can provide feedback that will give you a better understanding of what regulations you’ll be required to meet as you move forward to bring your product to market.” One example cited was FDA’s voluntary consultation process to engage with the developers of foods derived from genetically engineered plants. This process helps developers determine the necessary steps to ensure the resulting food products are safe and lawful.
- Dr. Mayne endorsed FDA’s guidance documents as good sources of information about regulatory requirements, and stressed the importance of food safety, stating it must be part of a food innovator’s mission – “It’s our mission to protect public health and we are on board with supporting innovative products, but they must be safe products.”
- Dr. Mayne concluded her talk by quickly mentioning FDA’s update to the Nutrition Facts label. “We know that consumers are demanding healthier foods, and industry, including many of your companies, is seeking new ways to deliver products that meet consumer needs. […] I encourage you to work with FDA, to bring your brainpower and imagination to the challenge of feeding the world, helping people have healthier diets, and providing innovative new options for consumers.”