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White House announces food safety standards

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

White House Food Safety Announcement: Statement by Consumers Union

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 7, 2009 – The White House today is announcing new food safety standards aimed at reducing salmonella and E. coli outbreaks, plus the creation of a new FDA deputy commissioner position to increase coordination of federal food safety measures.
Jean Halloran, the director of Consumers Union’s food safety campaign, made the following statement about the White House announcement:
“These new measures represent real progress towards improving the safety of food in the U.S. The creation of this new position means that, for the first time, there is a ‘go to’ person at FDA whose sole responsibility is keeping food safe. We are also pleased to see the issuance of the FDA egg safety rule, which languished for years during the previous administration without becoming final.
“We agree that new standards for salmonella in poultry are needed to address persistent problems with contamination. We also need action on development of a standard for campylobacter, another bacteria that is prevalent in poultry and which makes many Americans sick every year.
“Guidance for controlling E. coli in produce will also help prevent problems like the contamination of bagged spinach that occurred several years ago that caused several deaths and many illnesses. We hope FDA will also consider issuing regulations on this topic, since compliance with guidance is optional.
“We urge lawmakers to move promptly to pass the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. This is a good piece of legislation that will require FDA to develop regulations to improve produce safety, which can also be contaminated by salmonella. We also support the Administration’s plan to develop of traceability systems, so FDA can more quickly find the source of contaminated products.”
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