249 Three Federal Agencies Connecting the Dots On Dioxin in the Food Supply

Thursday, November 5, 2009: 11:20 AM
Kohlberg (Camino Real Hotel)
Jeffrey C. Archer , Arkansas Regional Laboratory, FDA, Jefferson, AR
Kerry Dearfield , USDA, FSIS, OPHS, RARD, Washington, D.C
Janice Huwe , Biosciences Research Laboratory, USDA, Fargo, ND
Randall Lovell , Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Rockville, MD
Doritza Pagan-Rodriguez , USDA, FSIS, OPHS, RARD, Washington, D.C
Paul South , Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, College Park, MD
John Schaum , National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, EPA, Washington, DC
Dwain Winters , Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, EPA, Washington, DC
Kim Young , Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Rockville, MD
Multiple Federal Agencies have programs for monitoring dioxins and dioxin like compounds in our food supply and environment.  The current interagency approach does not promote an interdependency that allows levels and patterns to be investigated with a farm-to-fork mindset.  By creating an interagency database in addition to a multi-agency workgroup, a risk-based approach could be implemented to reduce exposure of these contaminants. 


The National Academy of Science (Institute of Medicine) published a report in 2003:  “Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds in the Food Supply; Strategies to Decrease Exposure”.  Many of the recommendations to decrease exposure begin with identifying current levels.  The FDA has developed a dioxin database to evaluate levels and patterns within the food and feed industry.  Discussions and initial steps to create such an interagency database have taken place between FDA, EPA and USDA. 


The USDA 2008 Dioxin Survey is a model example of how such a database could benefit the agencies and truly protect human health.  The USDA has recently completed an animal survey analyzing for the presence of these analytes.  The FDA is currently collecting and analyzing follow-up samples related to animals with elevated levels or unique patterns.  The patterns of these animals have been queried into the FDA database (containing about 9500 sample results) searching for commodities with similar patterns. 


Having a single data repository for multiple agencies led by an interagency coordination group should create a collaborative atmosphere, which could ultimately reach to the private sector and reduce these unwanted exposures.