IDFA and nine other food industry trade associations last week sent joint letters to key congressional leaders, urging them to increase funding and authority for the Food and Drug Administration, among other steps, to enhance U.S. food safety. The letters identified several areas where industry leaders can work with Congress to create an effective, workable approach to food safety.
"Our organizations support efforts to continually improve the safety of America's food supplies and urge Congress to make the prevention of contamination the foundation of our nation's food safety strategy," the letters state. "We urge Congress to quickly enact food safety reforms that will give FDA new powers to reduce the risk of foodborne illness."
One letter was sent to Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Another letter was addressed to Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Both committees have oversight for food safety issues.
In addition to IDFA, the other associations signing the letters were the American Frozen Food Institute, the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the International Bottled Water Association, the National Fisheries Institute, the National Restaurant Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Snack Food Association.
The issue of food safety was thrust into the headlines again last week when the Peanut Corporation of America recalled its peanut paste because it could be contaminated with Salmonella. The products of some IDFA members were affected by this recall, while other members issued statements reassuring consumers that their products were not affected.
"The new administration and Congress have indicated that food safety legislation will be a high priority," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA senior director of policy and legislative affairs. "IDFA will continue to work closely with other food trade associations to develop a coordinated legislative approach to food safety that will benefit all companies in the food industry."
For more information, contact Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3553.