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IDFA Submits Comments on Food Import Safety to Federal Working Group

Oct 15, 2007

IDFA Submits Comments on Food Import Safety to Federal Working Group

Responding to a call for comments from the Presidential Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, IDFA urged the group to develop sound risk management practices that will keep unsafe products from reaching U.S. consumers without restricting international trade. The working group, comprised of representatives from 12 federal agencies, was established by President Bush in July to review current import practices and identify where improvements can be made.

"We share the Working Group's view that while it is not possible to eliminate all risk with imported products, more can be done to ensure the safety of those imported products," IDFA states in the comments.

Specifically, IDFA recommends increasing the Food and Drug Administration's budget for import inspections, making better use of information technology to gather and share import data, and working with other nations to ensure that they also are taking precautions to prevent unsafe or adulterated food from entering the global market. Because ensuring import safety is a benefit for all, IDFA argues that any new safety efforts should be funded by general revenues and not user fees.

In addition, IDFA asks the group to avoid implementing sweeping actions that could create trade barriers, impose burdensome labeling requirements or foster unnecessary product backlogs or shortages. Certifying foreign food facilities or requiring country-of-origin labeling for ingredients are two proposed actions that IDFA believes would be impractical and impossible to implement.

IDFA commends the working group for its efforts to date and looks forward to future opportunities to contribute to the group's actions on food safety. To read IDFA's comments, click here.

Chaired by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt, the working group is comprised of officials from HHS, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. After reviewing all public comments, the group expects to release an action plan by mid-November.

For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at or 202-220-3554.

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Posted October 15, 2007

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