Friday, January 23, 2009

United, food groups to Congress: "Quickly enact food safety reforms"

What the food industry wants from food safety reform is coming into tighter focus. This letter was sent yesterday by United Fresh, the NRA, FMI, GMA and others. No signature on this letter from PMA, FFVA or Western Growers on this letter, however. Open question -why not?


January 22, 2009
The Honorable Henry Waxman
The Honorable Joe Barton
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515
Dear Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Barton:
Our organizations urge you to quickly enact food safety reforms. Americans continue to enjoy the
safest food supplies in the world but rising food imports and changing consumer preferences pose new challenges that require Congress and the Administration to modernize our food safety net.
In particular, we urge you to:
• Require Food Safety Plans. Congress should require every food company manufacturing food for the US market to conduct an evaluation of food safety risks that identifies potential sources of
contamination, identifies appropriate food safety controls, and documents those controls in a food safety plan available for FDA review.
• Require Foreign Supplier Safety Plans and Build Foreign Capacity. Congress should build the
capacity of foreign governments to regulate food safety and to require every food importer to
police their foreign suppliers. In particular, Congress should require that food importers document the food safety measures and controls being implemented by their foreign suppliers, and to requirefood importers to make a foreign supplier food safety plan available for FDA review.
• Ensure the Safety of Fruits and Vegetables. Congress should give FDA the power to establish safety standards for certain fruits and vegetables – when risk and science demonstrate that standards are needed. FDA should be permitted to work with states and others to tailor standards to meet local growing conditions and to ensure that standards are being met.
• Adopt a Risk-Based Approach to Inspections. Congress should increase food safety inspection
and should focus domestic and foreign inspections on facilities that pose the greatest risk of
contamination that could result in foodborne illness or injury.
• Authorize Mandatory Recalls. Congress should give FDA the authority to order a mandatory recall when a company has refused to conduct a voluntary recall and there is a significant risk to public health. Specifically, where the responsible party refuses to voluntarily recall a product for which there is a reasonable probability that the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death, the Secretary should be permitted to order the company to conduct a recall. Our organizations support efforts to continually improve the safety of America’s food supplies andurge Congress to continue to make the prevention of contamination the foundation of our nation’s food safety strategies. We urge Congress to quickly enact food safety reforms that w ill give FDA newpowers to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.


Sincerely,
American Frozen Food Institute
Food Marketing Institute
Grocery Manufacturers Association
International Bottled Water Association
International Dairy Foods Association
National Fisheries Institute
National Restaurant Association
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Snack Food Association
United Fresh

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