Food Protection Plan aims to safeguard US food supply
May 1, 2008 12:00 PM
United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt has announced an initiative by the Food and Drug Administration designed to bolster efforts to better protect the nation's food supply. The Food Protection Plan proposes using science and a risk-based approach to ensure the safety of domestic and imported foods eaten by American consumers.
“This Food Protection Plan will implement a strategy of prevention, intervention, and response to build safety into every step of the food supply chain,” said Leavitt.
The plan, which focuses on both domestic and imported food, complements the Import Safety Action Plan delivered by Leavitt to President George W Bush that recommends how the United States can improve the safety of all imported products. The Import Safety Action Plan lays out a road map with short- and long-term recommendations to enhance product safety at every step of the import life cycle. Taken together, the two plans will improve efforts by the public and private sector to enhance the safety of an array of products.
Among the panel's recommendations, the FDA would have the power to order a recall of food when safety concerns arise, a move that would require congressional approval.
To strengthen its efforts to prevent contamination, FDA plans to strengthen support of food industry efforts to build safety into products manufactured either domestically or imported. The plan's intervention element emphasizes focusing inspections and sampling based on risk at the manufacturer and processor level, for both domestic and imported products, that will help verify the preventive controls. This approach is complemented by targeted, risk-based inspections at the points where foreign food products enter the United States, including ports.
The Food Protection Plan is available at the web site at www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/advance/food/plan.
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