Food Safety Action Plan Unveiled November 19th, 2007
The Grocery Manufacturers Association recently unveiled “Commitment to Consumers: The Four Pillars of Food Safety,” a proposal designed to protect consumers by strengthening, modernizing, and improving the system governing the safety of food and food ingredients imported into the United States.
“Ensuring the United States has the safest food supply in the world is priority No. 1 for the food and beverage industry,” said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the association.
“Because we cannot simply inspect our way to a safer food supply, industry can apply its vast knowledge and practical experience along the entire supply chain to prevent problems before they arise. And, under our proposal, a fortified FDA will be right there with us, side by side, to make sure we do it right,” he said.Prevention and a stronger public-private food safety partnership are the foundation of the association’s Four Pillars proposal:
1. All importers of record would be required to adopt a foreign supplier quality assurance program and verify that imported ingredients and products meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration food safety and quality requirements.
2. Enable the FDA to focus greater resources on products and countries deemed of higher risk through a program that would allow food companies/importers to qualify their products as lower risk by sharing test results, data, and supply chain information with the FDA in a confidential manner. Qualifying products and ingredients would receive expedited treatment at the borders, allowing the FDA to train its resources on products that carry greater risk of contamination.
3. Build capacity within foreign governments so that as products move around the world there is a greater assurance of safety and quality.
4. Arm the FDA with the appropriate resources to administer the program and adequately fulfill its food safety mission, the fourth pillar seeks to expand the capacity of FDA, by providing the Agency with the resources it needs to get the job done.
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