May 22, 2009
In an effort to improve food safety in the United States, the Obama Administration has created the Food Safety Working Group to come up with ideas to accomplish that goal. Chaired by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for Health and Human Services, the group met with representatives of the federal and state governments and the food industry.
Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin's secretary of agriculture, said the move to reform the food safety system is gaining momentum.
While the major players are the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control, there are 13 federal agencies that have some role in food safety, which Nilsestuen said highlights one of the challenges the group faces. He pointed out there are more than 3,000 local agencies involved in food safety.
Several bills are in the works in Congress, but Nilsestuen said any reform of policy must include a way to better encompass and integrate state and local agencies as well. One key element to that end would be the establishment of a database, which could be shared by the three federal agencies as well as local and state agencies.
Reprinted in part from Brownfield Ag News for America