Food industry 'supports
sensible fees' to boost safety: GMA
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Food-industry-supports-sensible-fees-to-boost-safety-GMA
By Stephen Daniells, 25-Mar-2009
The Grocery Manufacturers Association
(GMA) has voiced its support of President Obama’s efforts to form a food
safety working group, but it inspection fees are a work in progress.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the GMA
is leading the fight against Democrat proposals to charge annual
The Journal states that the targets of the lobbying will be
members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and particularly the
committee’s chair, Henry Waxman, a democrat from California. Meetings
between Waxman’s staff and lobbyists are reported to have occurred in
However, a spokesperson for the GMA told FoodNavigator-USA.com the
association “would support sensible user fees that help to improve food safety while also providing our industry with some
“FDA’s food safety mission should be funded primarily by Congress
through appropriated funds,” said the
The spokesperson added that the industry is willing to pay its
‘fair’ share, however, and “is working with Capitol Hill to come up with
the appropriate funding mechanisms”.
GMA support for Obama
The trade association is in favor of many of the President’s
initiatives, however. GMA sent a letter recently to the White House to
voice support for the President’s proposal to create a food safety working
group to coordinate federal food safety efforts.
“Americans enjoy one of the safest food supplies in the world, but
food and beverage companies recognize that steps must be taken to make our
food supply even safer.
Ensuring the safety of our products […] is the single most important
goal of the food and beverage industry. Product safety is the foundation of
consumer trust, and our industry devotes enormous resources to ensure that
our products are safe.
“Our industry strongly supports efforts to continually improve the
safety of America’s food supplies and we urge the Administration to
continue to make the prevention of contamination the foundation of our
nation’s food safety strategies.”
Six specific recommendations were offered to the president:
Increase FDA food-related spending;
Require food safety plans;
Require foreign suppler safety plans and build foreign capacity;
Regulate fruits and vegetables;
Adopt a risk-based approach to inspections;
Authorize mandatory recalls.
To read the GMA’s full letter, please click here .
Industry support for FDA strengthening
Earlier this month food companies have come out in support of
stricter government regulation proposed by a bipartisan Senate bill
intended to strengthen the FDA’s powers to ensure food safety.
Introduced in response to the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked
to peanut products, the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety
Modernization Act would require food companies to submit detailed food
safety plans, give the FDA the power to order product recalls, and allow it
greater access to company records.
The latest salmonella outbreak – which has so far caused 677
reported illnesses and nine deaths – has seen food manufacturers become
increasingly open to government-mandated food safety measures, as public
trust in the safety of the US food supply has hit at an all time low. It is
thought that public trust was particularly damaged when it emerged that the
Peanut Corporation of America, the company at the heart of the ongoing
peanut product recall, knowingly shipped goods that were tainted with salmonella.