The Obama Administration’s food safety recommendations included several produce industry objectives that were pushed by the United Fresh Produce Association. The White House action was based on recommendations from the Food Safety Working Group and comes after several months of input from United Fresh and other organizations to improve the nation’s food safety practices.
“Today’s White House announcement demonstrates how the government and the food industry can work together to make meaningful and practical food safety improvements,” says Tom Stenzel, president and CEO at United Fresh Produce Association. “The administration’s plan embraces several key recommendations advanced by United Fresh to help ensure that food safety initiatives address produce industry priorities.”
The Food Safety Working Group was created by President Barack Obama in March to develop an action plan for improving food safety. United Fresh participates on the working group as the only organization specifically representing the fresh produce industry.
Starting in December 2008, United Fresh made recommendations to the Obama Administration to address food safety that are incorporated in today’s task force plan, including: the adoption of commodity-specific food safety guidance; establishment of a centralized command and control authority to quickly and efficiently manage food safety actions during outbreaks of food-borne illness and/or product recalls; and granting authority for a food safety “czar” to ensure a more centralized government authority for directing food safety actions.
“These recommendations set a strong foundation for the food safety legislative work on Capitol Hill,” says Robert Guenther, senior vice president for public policy at United Fresh. “We have been successful in making critical improvements in the House food safety bill and look forward to working with the Senate and the Obama Administration to help drive improvements in our nation’s food safety practices.”