One way that scientists and researchers can contribute to the development of public policy is through the public comment process. Legislation is enacted by Congress and implemented through Federal Regulations. Regulations, commonly referred to as “rules,” are made by executive departments and agencies, and are part of the “Code of Federal Regulations” or CFR.
Federal agencies are required to seek public comments before new rules are implemented. This is an opportunity for everyone to provide input on the proposed regulation. Often, stakeholders will report on how the regulation will impact them. Scientists and researchers are able to provide their expertise to weigh in with their assessment of impacts, intended and unintended, of the proposed changes.
In addition to requesting comments on rules, agencies will often issue “Requests for Information” or “RFIs” which identify a specific type of information they are seeking to inform their decision making process.
CFI regularly submits public comments on proposed rules and RFIs issued by the two federal food safety agencies – the US Food and Drug Administration (under the United State Department of Health and Human Services) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (under the United State Department of Agriculture). In addition, CFI will sometimes provide comments on RFIs for other agencies on topics that impact food safety.
As part of their education in translating science to policy, graduate students frequently lead the work to analyze the proposed rule and organize the Center’s response.
Below are links to the comments that CFI has submitted since 2019.
For more information on the process and impact of public comments, see this Fact Sheet on Regulations.gov.