IRAC Home / Strategic Planning / Charter & Strategic Plan

Charter & Strategic Plan

Charter

Article I: Purpose

Revised February 28, 2011

The Interagency Risk Assessment Consortium (IRAC) was established in response to the Presidential Executive Order 13100 (dated August 25, 1998) and subsequent planning and implementation documents of the President’s Food Safety Council. The May 1997 Food Safety Initiative report to the U.S. President recommended that all federal agencies with risk analysis responsibilities for food safety establish a Risk Assessment Consortium to collectively work to enhance communication and coordination among federal agencies and promote the conduct of scientific research that will facilitate the development and utilization of food safety risk assessments. The Charter, revised June 2003, provides the basis for collaboration among the members of the IRAC in carrying out the responsibilities as set forth in the President’s report. The February 2011 update of the Charter further clarifies the goals of IRAC.

The goals of the Risk Assessment Consortium include:

1) Improve risk assessment research

  • Identify data gaps and critical research needs for food safety risk assessment
  • Reduce unnecessary research redundancies

2) Enhance the development and use of risk assessment models and tools

  • Provide a forum to collaborate and share technical expertise in the development of interagency risk assessments
  • Identify and catalogue risk assessment reports, methods, models, and data sets,
  • Provide advice and serve as a technical resource for member agencies; serve as a forum for the development of interagency risk assessment modeling approaches.
  • Seek expertise from risk assessment professionals and scientists from the public and private sectors, academe, and consumer groups.

3) Serve as a forum to communicate about risk assessment and related research issues including enhancement of the use of quantitative risk assessment in the decision making regulatory process.

Article II: Membership

The IRAC seeks membership from all federal agencies with risk analysis responsibilities related to food safety, including animal and human health research. Additional federal agencies, when identified, will also be invited to join the Consortium.

The IRAC technical representative from each agency serves as its agency’s scientific delegate. Although the IRAC is not a policy-setting group, the technical representatives should be knowledgeable of their respective agency policy goals and objectives to ensure that the IRAC activities are consistent with those goals and objectives.

Initial technical representatives were appointed by individual federal member agencies in response to a July 14, 1997, request from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a scientific/technical representative. Current representatives reflect a cross-section of scientific expertise and experience.

The IRAC official representative from each agency serves as a member of the IRAC Policy Council. Selection of official representatives should be consistent with the goals of IRAC described above. Agencies may change the official representative as needed. The agencies may, on an ad hoc basis, have additional or alternate representatives participate in IRAC activities. The current list of member agencies will be maintained for public review at www.foodrisk.org/IRAC/

Article III: Host Agency

FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is the host agency for the IRAC. The host agency will provide staff support, including an Executive Secretary for the activities of IRAC. Other agencies may provide support as necessary.

Article IV: Structure

The IRAC is structured as follows:
  • Policy Council: The IRAC Policy Council will provide general direction and oversight to the Consortium, including the approval of an annual program plan, activities report, and other work products. The Policy Council will be comprised of a designated official from each member agency and will be co-chaired by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
  • Technical Committee: The Technical Committee develops and implements an annual plan of activities. The host agency will identify a representative to serve as the Technical Committee Chair. The role of the Chair will be to facilitate planning, coordination and communication among IRAC members.

Article V: Meetings

The IRAC will meet on a quarterly basis at a time and location chosen by the Technical Committee Chair in consultation with the co-chairs of the Policy Council. The Policy Council will meet at least once a year during the Technical Committee Spring Quarterly meeting. Additional meetings may be held at the call of the Technical Committee Chair or at the request of a quorum of members. Work groups of the Consortium will meet as needed.

The Technical Committee Chair will request agenda items from representatives for all quarterly meetings. The Technical Committee Chair will provide a summary report of each quarterly meeting for distribution to the membership and make each report available for public review. Meetings open to the public will be held annually or as otherwise needed. Opportunities for comments by interested groups will be provided at public meetings.

Article VI: Work Product

The development of work products will be coordinated by the Technical Committee Chair. Clearance of any and all final work products within individual member agencies is the responsibility of that agency’s official representative. Each member agency should establish protocols with their representatives to assure timely clearance.

Article VII: IRAC Resources and Support

IRAC will work with government agencies, academic institutions, professional societies and/or industry to achieve its goals. IRAC has a longstanding association with the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), which hosts the website www.foodrisk.org, which serves as an online resource for the food safety risk analysis community, providing access to data, tools and links to sources of information in the field of risk analysis. In addition, foodrisk.org hosts the IRAC webpage which includes a list of IRAC activities, meeting minutes and members’ information. The host agency (FDA CFSAN) will serve as a liaison between IRAC and JIFSAN.

Article VIII: Work Groups

The Technical Committee Chair, after consultation with IRAC representatives, and as approved by the Policy Council, may establish workgroups of representatives, their alternates, or other Federal employees, as deemed necessary, to facilitate and carry out the responsibilities of the IRAC. Such workgroups will report to the full Consortium during quarterly meetings.

Article IX: Budget

Funding for quarterly meetings, public meetings, and work group meetings will be provided by the host agency. Member agencies may be asked to provide “in kind” support and are responsible for expenses incurred by their representatives. Resources for fulfilling specific projects requested by members (e.g. risk assessment work groups and similar activities) are similarly the responsibility of the individual member agencies.

Strategic Plan

VISION

The IRAC will be the primary US resource for advancing food and water safety risk assessment to support science based decision making.

MISSION

The IRAC is a forum for enhanced communication and coordination among US federal agencies and their stakeholders to share knowledge and promote understanding of food and water safety risk assessments and to reduce redundancy in work products.

GOALS

1) Improve risk assessment research

  • Identify data gaps and critical research needs for food safety risk assessment
  • Reduce unnecessary research redundancies

2) Enhance the development and use of risk assessment models and tools

  • Provide a forum to collaborate and share technical expertise in the development of interagency risk assessments.
  • Identify and catalogue risk assessment reports, methods, models, and data sets.
  • Provide advice and serve as a technical resource for member agencies; serve as a forum for the development of interagency risk assessment modeling approaches.
  • Seek expertise from risk assessment professionals and scientists from the public and private sectors, academe, and consumer groups.

3) Serve as a forum to communicate about risk assessment and related research issues including enhancement of the use of quantitative risk assessment in the decision making regulatory process

STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS

Improve collaboration among agencies and leverage resources

  • Annual public meeting to share information from each agency on their food safety risk assessment activities
  • Co-sponsor meetings with other organizations with an interest in food safety risk assessment (e.g., Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, National Academies of Science, International Association for Food Protection, Society for Risk Analysis, International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, International Life Sciences Institute, Society for Toxicology, American Public Health Association, American Society for Microbiology, etc.
  • Provide information on IRAC to agency communications departments to share on information booths.
  • Provide opportunities for data collection agencies to work with users of data

Enhance awareness of food safety risk assessment resources

  • Increase our online presence though updating and expanding our webpage (www.foodrisk.org/irac)
  • Maintain an easily accessible inventory of food safety risk assessment documents from IRAC member agencies and elsewhere, including guidelines on how to do risk assessments and other tools
  • Maintain a list of emerging issues in food safety risk assessment
  • Maintain a list of food safety risk assessment data gaps and research needs

Serve as a resource for food safety risk assessment peer review.

  • Create a process to provide technical feedback on draft risk assessments developed by member agencies.