Advocacy & Engagement Timeline

  • Ongoing: ACS engages with FDA on a regular basis via in-person meetings and phone calls to ensure open lines of communication and to build understanding of our industry.

 

  • 7-27-18: Deputy Director for Regulatory Affairs at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mr. Douglas Stearn, shared an update on current food safety issues impacting our industry at the Annual ACS Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

 

  • 5-18-18: ACS leaders met with FDA to touch base regarding a number of issues of relevance to members, including: targeted sampling and testing of blue cheese; labeling issues; the use of wood boards in cheesemaking; the current pause on non-toxigenic E. coli testing as an indicator of insanitation in cheese; updated and expanded Standards of Identity (SOI); and new ACS resources centered on food safety. Read our full member update.

 

  • 7-28-17: Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, shared an update with ACS members on current food safety issues impacting our industry.

 

 

 

  • 9-21-16: The Artisan Cheese Food Safety Advisory Group met to focus on how identified gaps in education, information, and outreach might be filled for artisan producers. ACS will take the helm on one initial project, the creation of a website that will serve as a free, robust portal accessing important food safety resources for cheesemakers. The site, to be launched in 2017, will consolidate the most current and up-to-date links to resources, extension and on-line learning, research, and local/regional support.

 

 

  • 7-29-16: Dr. Nega Beru, Director, FDA CFSAN Office of Food Safety, shared an update with ACS Conference attendees in Des Moines this summer. The full presentation is available at ACS Education on Demand. The session addressed key stakeholder concerns including: Results of the Raw Milk Cheese Testing Pilot Program; the status of FDA’s pause in testing for non-toxigenic E. coli as an indicator organism; potential direction for the 60-day aging rule; conclusions drawn from the Risk for Listeriosis from the Consumption of Soft-ripened Cheese Risk Assessment; Preventative Controls for raw milk cheesemaking.

 

  • 7-27-16: Leading academics, retailers, producers, and distributors met in Des Moines at the invitation of ACS to participate in a Preventive Controls Working Group. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), FDA considers not only Critical Control Points, but broader risk-based Preventive Control (PC) steps as part of a food safety plan. To this end, these industry stakeholders met to discuss what such PCs might look like for cheeses made with unpasteurized milk.

 

  • 2-22-16: ACS sent a letter to FDA Deputy Director Michael Taylor and CFSAN Director Susan Mayne in follow up to the 2-11-16 meeting held with ACS members in Washington, DC. ACS also submitted a Request for Data to FDA for information from FDA’s Listeria Environmental Sampling Program and FDA’s Raw Milk Cheese Sampling Program.

 

  • 2-11-16: ACS members met with FDA Deputy Director Michael Taylor for a Listening Session on raw milk cheese in Washington, DC. Read a press release with more details and outcomes from this meeting here.

 

  • 12-10-15: A meeting was held between ACS and FDA representatives in Washington, DC on topics including non-toxigenic E. coli levels in raw milk cheese, FDA’s risk assessment of Listeria mono. in soft-ripened cheeses, and FDA’s raw milk cheese testing assignment, along with the ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers. See the meeting agenda. and readRead the update from the FDA Meeting.
  • 12-2-15: ACS received detailed technical comments from FDA on Chapters 1-5 of our Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers, which will be reviewed by ACS’s Regulatory & Academic Committee.

 

 

  • 7-31-15: FDA representatives presented at the ACS Annual Conference in Providence, RI and FDA announced its request for comments from the public that would assist the agency in identifying and evaluating measures that might minimize the impact of harmful bacteria in cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.

 

 

  • 5-27-15: ACS sent an email to Mike Taylor on the 60-day aging rule for raw milk cheese as a follow up to 5-13 discussions; Taylor acknowledged and thanked us for the information provided in the email.

 

  • 5-13-15: A meeting was held between ACS and FDA representatives in Washington, DC to discuss items including the timeline of a recent industry recall, and updates on FDA’s raw milk sampling program, FDA’s risk assessment for soft-ripened cheeses, the 60 day aging rule for raw milk cheese, and issues/delays with imported cheeses to the US. See the agenda.

 

  • 2-10-15: FDA provides ACS with Artisanal Cheese Producer Inspections, Sample Collections, Analyses, Post Sampling Communications in response to our request for a guide that covers the steps producers can expect during an inspection, as well as when product is collected for sampling. It was shared with members via a member alert, “What To Expect When You’re Inspected.

 

  • 12-11-14: A meeting was held between ACS and FDA representatives in Washington, DC on topics including non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese, risk assessment of Listeria mono. in soft-ripened cheeses, raw milk cheese testing assignment, and other timely concerns (see the agenda).

 

  • 9-10-14: ACS sent a letter to William Correll, Director, Office of Compliance for CFSAN/FDA, requesting clarification on why the non-toxigenic E. coli limit for raw milk cheese was changed.

 

  • 8-15-14: ACS sent a letter to Michael Taylor to follow-up on a number of issues including the ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers, limits for non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese, wood surfaces for aging cheese, and other timely industry concerns. In this letter, ACS confirmed a plan to meet with FDA 2-4 times annually to connect proactively on industry issues, rather than merely in response to urgent issues.

 

  • 7-29-14: A team from FDA, including Michael Taylor, met with ACS representatives at the ACS Annual Conference in Sacramento, CA. Mr. Taylor presented to ACS members at the Conference.

 

 

 

  • 4-7-14: ACS sent a letter to Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA, requesting an in-person meeting to discuss critical issues for the industry.

 

 

  • 5-22-13: ACS presented comments at a joint FSIS/FDA Public Meeting on the Interagency Retail Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment.

 

  • 4-19-13: ACS submitted comments to the Federal Register in response to the Joint FDA/Health Canada Quantitative Assessment of the Risk of Listeriosis from Soft-Ripened Cheese Consumption in the US and Canada – Draft Report.

 

  • 12-17-12: ACS sent a letter to FDA’s John Sheehan with updates on our work, a request for information about FDA’s raw milk cheese risk assessment, and an invitation to present at the ACS Conference. ACS leadership also sent letters to elected officials around the country in support of raw milk cheese.

 

 

  • 1-31-12: Kate Arding, ACS Board Member, attended an FDA public meeting in Washington, DC and shared the views of ACS on foodborne illness source attribution and product traceability.

 

  • 4-20-11: David Gremmels, ACS President, attended an FDA public meeting in Washington, DC and shared the views of ACS on preventive control regulation and guidance.