National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) provides impartial scientific advice to federal agencies to use in developing integrated food safety systems from farm to table and to ensure food safety in domestic and imported foods.
The NACMCF was established in 1988, under Departmental Regulation 1043-28, in response to the recommendations of two external organizations. The National Academy of Sciences recommended an interagency approach to microbiological criteria, since various federal, State, and local agencies are responsible for food safety. Also, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations made a similar recommendation in the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 1988.
The NACMCF provides scientific advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Committee covers public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply, including development of microbiological criteria and review and evaluation of epidemiological and risk assessment data and methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards in foods.
The food safety programs of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Department of HHS Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are strengthened through NACMCF recommendations. The programs of other federal agencies concerned with food safety, including the Department of HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Department of Defense (DoD), Veterinary Services Activity also benefit from NACMCF work.
The NACMCF charter was approved on September 24, 2010.
The activities of the NACMCF are carried out, in part, by subcommittees that are focused on specific areas being considered by the full Committee. The NACMCF has made important contributions to a broad range of critical food safety issues. The NACMCF has developed reference documents emphasizing the role of regulatory agencies, industry, and consumers to control specific foodborne pathogens. The NACMCF was instrumental in formulating and standardizing the principles of hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems. NACMCF reports provide current information and scientific advice to federal food safety agencies and serve as a foundation for regulations and programs aimed at reducing foodborne disease and enhancing public health.
Recently completed projects include the following final reports:
- "Response to Questions Posed by the Food Safety and Inspection Service Regarding Determination of the most Appropriate Technologies for the Food Safety and Inspection Service to Adopt in Performing Routine and Baseline Microbiological Analyses",
- "Parameters for Inoculated Pack/Challenge Study Protocols", and
- "Assessment of the Food Safety Importance of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis."
NACMCF final reports can be viewed within the Regulations section of this site.
New planned subcommittee work areas include:
- the study of microbiological criteria as indicators of process control or insanitary conditions, and
- control strategies for reducing foodborne norovirus infections.
For an overview of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, go to http://www.gsa.gov/committeemanagement