Farm Foundation Holds Public Forum on Food Safety Regulations
The Farm Foundation recently hosted a public forum titled “The Future of Food Safety Regulation” to discuss agricultural, food and rural policies designed to revamp the current regulatory system. Held April 7, 2009, at the National Press Club, the forum featured a panel of experts that included Jim Hodges of the American Meat Institute, Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America’s Food
Policy Institute; Scott Horsfall of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement; and Margaret Glavin, an independent consultant and former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official.
Glavin reportedly identified the global food market as “the single biggest challenge” facing U.S. agencies and recommended modernizing laws to promote a uniform approach to food safety. Noting the high cost of legislative proposals that would create one umbrella agency, Glavin instead argued for increased FDA funding and the authority to enforce import requirements and conduct overseas inspections.
“Our regulations and our program design both envision a regime of regular inspections of domestic food plants and an occasional look at foods from overseas,” she was quoted as saying. “This is made worse by the fact that . . . imported products are treated completely differently by FDA and USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture].” See Congress Daily, April 7, 2009.
In a related development, Tucker Foreman addressed these issues at an April 2 hearing before the House Agriculture Committee, where she apparently suggested that FDA model its food safety arm after USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). “I’ve come to think of [FSIS] as the Rodney Dangerfield of food safety,” she said. “It gets no respect for having made major strides in the last 15 years to improve its food safety efforts.” See Meatingplace.com, April 6, 2009.