As of February 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Nutrition began sharing whole genome sequencing information. This exchange of information will permit more efficient use of resources and will contribute to improved public health protection.
Results are being shared for all Listeria monocytogenes isolates collected at dual-jurisdiction establishments where the potential for L. monocytogenes harborage in the environment has implications to both FSIS- and FDA-regulated products. Information from other pathogen testing programs (e.g., Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7) may also be shared if there are links to outbreak investigations.
By sharing this information on a routine basis, the agencies can better work together to inform sampling priorities and food safety actions. The information is being shared according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies.
In addition, on March 2, 2022, FSIS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed a MOU to enhance data sharing and coordination of critically important public health activities.
The revised MOU expands the scope of the data-sharing agreement to include all FSIS program offices and CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). It builds on existing efforts to increase collaboration and is expected to:
- Clarify information sharing between FSIS and NCEZID
- Promote efficient use of interagency expertise, technologies, and tools to improve identification of contaminated food products
- Strengthen inter-agency infrastructure and processes to investigate and prevent foodborne illness and protect public health
- Expedite the transfer and interpretation of data with industry to protect public health
- Facilitate public reporting of microbiological characterization data.
The MOU can be found on the FSIS website here.