President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in January, and among a raft of new measures designed to improve the safety of the US food supply outlined in the Act, are increased checks on imported foods and food ingredients. Tuesday’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting examined the impacts of the new law for importers, while a separate meeting taking place on Wednesday and Thursday is intended to address the comparability of food safety and import practices of foreign countries.
Speaking ahead of the FDA meeting on Tuesday, chief science officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Dr. Leon Bruner said:
“By requiring that all imported food and food ingredients be produced in accordance with US requirements, this new law will help to maintain a safe and reliable supply chain to further reduce the frequency and impact of product recalls and food borne illnesses. These efforts will, in turn, bolster consumer confidence in the safety of our nation’s food supply.”
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48m Americans become ill as a result of foodborne pathogens each year, of whom 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Bruner urged the FDA to ensure that the Food Safety Modernization Act is implemented in a deliberative, science-based, practical and efficient manner.
“Ensuring the safety of our products – and maintaining the confidence of consumers – is the single most important goal of our industry,” he said. “…Our companies continuously review and monitor all emerging science and scientific studies and incorporate these as warranted into our manufacturing practices to help ensure that we are always producing the safest possible product for our consumers.”