Friday, March 27, 2009

A Blueprint for Fixing the Food Safety System

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report, Keeping America's Food Safe: A Blueprint for Fixing the Food Safety System at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which examines problems with the current system and proposes ways to improve the food safety functions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to better protect the nation's food supply.

The report calls for the immediate consolidation of food safety leadership within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and ultimately the creation of a separate Food Safety Administration within HHS. Currently, no FDA official whose full-time job is food safety has line authority over all food safety functions.

"FDA certainly needs a modern food safety law and more resources, but to make good use of these tools, HHS needs a unified and elevated management structure for food safety that can implement a science- and risk-based food safety program dedicated to preventing foodborne illness," said Michael R. Taylor, JD, Research Professor of Health Policy at the School of Public Health at The George Washington University and Former Deputy Commissioner for Policy at FDA and Former Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Major organizational change requires careful planning and implementation and should not be rushed, but the time is ripe for building sustainable solutions to the problems in our nation's food safety system," he added.

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