FSIS seen as 'Rodney Dangerfield' of food safety

Source of Article:  www.meatingplace.com


By Janie Gabbett on 4/6/2009


The Food and Drug Administration should give its food safety arm structural status similar to that USDA gives its Food Safety and Inspection Service, Carol Tucker-Foreman told the House Agriculture Committee.

At a food safety hearing last week, Tucker-Foreman, distinguished fellow at Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute, said the lack of adequate food safety systems has become an emergency that Congress must address by enacting new laws that require the FDA to prevent foodborne illness rather than react to it.

Tucker-Foreman urged Congress to give FDA a separate organizational entity within HHS. She suggested Congress take a look at FSIS to see how important that separate organizational structure and institutional leadership can be.

"The position of Under Secretary for Food Safety is the highest ranking food safety officer in government," she said, adding that while FSIS still has its problems, it deserves more respect that it gets.

"I've come to think of the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA as the Rodney Dangerfield of food safety," Tucker-Forman said. "It gets no respect despite having made major strides in the last 15 years to improve its food safety efforts."

She went on to say, "The agency is still burdened by operating under a seriously outmoded statute which does not give it authority to enforce its HACCP system effectively and lacks a trained staff of scientists and statisticians who can develop a risk-based inspection program. Adequate funding for inspectors is also critical so that the agency can meet its statutory obligation to maintain a federal presence in every plant every day."


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