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U.S Food Safety Overhaul

October 9, 2009

President Obama created the Food Safety Group in order to advise the administration on how to upgrade food safety for the 21st century. The Food Safety Working Group is recommending a new and public health-focused approach to food safety based on three principles: prioritizing prevention, strengthening surveillance and enforcement and improving response and recovery.

The National Meat Association (NMA) has also published its own “Roadmap to Safe Food,” outlining essential factors for reform.  Coupled with the standards set by the Food Safety Working Group principles, implementation of a new food safety system is in progress.

The “Roadmap to Safe Food” states that any food system should be designed using:

  • Current science
  • Assessments of risk and prioritization of resources
  • Process controls
  • Uniform standards
  • Continuous improvements

The Food Safety Working Group is composed of the FDA, FSIS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency.  With all of these agencies working together, progress is possible.

Specific steps outlined by the Food Safety Working Group so far are:

  • HHS and USDA are targeting salmonella contamination by developing tougher standards
  • USDA is stepping up enforcement in beef facilities
  • The administration is building a new national trace back and response system
  • Two new positions have been created: the FDA deputy commissioner for food and the USDA/FSIS chief medical officer

Safety is a multi faceted concept composed of many factors in a food processing facility, from the non-slip, bacteria resistant flooring to the process in which meat is stored and processed.  Many details must be considered in order to keep facilities clean and safe.  Improvements and risk assessments are an ongoing process that have proven to be necessary.

Russell, Jeremy. “Food Safety Roadmap” Meating Place September 2009: 120.

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