Critical Role of Reliable Measurement in Regulatory Science

Susie Y. Dai


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has made prevention the cornerstone of a sustainable food safety system; therefore, a need exists for measurement tools to effectively monitor food for safety and quality. A preventive program requires reliable testing of all food products to ascertain the necessary protective steps to safeguard the food chain. Accordingly, the monitoring and surveillance systems need to be backed up by an effective, accurate, and task-specific measurement system. Metrology has highlighted two important features for reliable measurement, namely traceability and uncertainty. Fit-for-purpose analytical data are critical for regulatory decisions. Implementation and enforcement of regulations and standards require timely and reliable testing results. Regulatory risk managers recognize the important role of sound measurement in facilitating compliance and implementing enforcement actions. A critical feature in the use of analytical data for regulatory actions is scientific defensibility. The focus of this issue is metrology: the study of validated methods, performance standards, and efficient contaminant identification strategies, the cornerstones of scientifically defensible regulatory science.

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