of the nation's largest grocery chains wants USDA's risk-based
surveillance, inspection and enforcement model for meat and poultry
safety to be expanded to the raw food products currently regulated by
the Food and Drug Administration.
"Specifically we propose taking the successful risk-based USDA
surveillance, inspection and enforcement model that has helped reduce
the incidence of salmonella in poultry and has highlighted the
challenges associated with reducing E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef and
expanding it to other agricultural commodities like spinach and other
leafy greens, tomatoes, fresh fruits, peanuts, pistachios, grains and
other raw agricultural commodities," Supervalu Inc. Vice President
for Food Safety John Hanlin told the House agriculture committee on
"In other words, expand USDA's risk-based inspection system to
include commodities that today receive minimal inspection due to budget
challenges at FDA," he added.
He suggested a risk-based model could work in a variety of ways. One
would be to create a single food agency. Another would be for USDA to
regulate all raw commodities while FDA focused on further processors.
President Barack Obama has named a food safety working group chaired by
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services nominee
Kathleen Sebelius to study how best to revamp U.S. food safety policy.
Vilsack has championed expanding USDA's risk-based approach beyond the
agency. FDA has been criticized in the wake of the recent
peanut-related salmonella outbreak for its lack of consistent
Minneapolis-based Supervalu operates more than 2,500 retail stores, 35
distribution centers and employs over 190,000 people.