12.04.07

ENZI CALLS FOR COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO IMPROVE FOOD SAFETY, STRENGTHEN PUBLIC FAITH IN FOOD SUPPLY

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), today saidstrengthening public faith in the safety of food is crucial to public health as well as theeconomy, and reaffirmed his commitment to develop a bipartisan, comprehensiveresponse to improve the safety of all food in the United States that will better protectconsumers and their families. “There’s too much at stake here to keep relying on a policy of panic and retreat,”Enzi said. “Hysteria and massive recalls based on incomplete information cost smallproducers hard-earned profits. That’s not the answer. We must improve coordinationamong all the agencies and businesses responsible for producing, testing and inspectingfood before it arrives at the kitchen table. We have the tools, the expert knowledge andthe innovative spirit to find better and more reliable systems to protect the public healthfrom contaminated food. Let’s get moving on a comprehensive, bipartisan solution.” During today’s hearing, “Developing a Comprehensive Approach to FoodSafety,” the HELP Committee began its evaluations of the recommendations made by thePresident’s Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, chaired by Health and HumanServices Secretary Michael Leavitt, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FoodProtection Plan. “There is a lot to like in Secretary Leavitt’s report and the FDA Food ProtectionPlan,” Enzi said. “However, we need to carefully review the recommendations in thesereports before we rush to action. Food safety is critical to every American, and it’s up tous to make sure we take the time to get it right.” Enzi added: “We must also improve our testing and inspection capabilities. Forfar too long, the number of inspectors at FDA has been decreasing, even as imports havebeen rising dramatically, and new food safety problems arose. Finally, we must considerwhether new authorities are needed to respond to those problems that are not detected andcorrected.” Enzi said he will continue to champion the innovation and creativity of smallbusiness as part of his work with his colleagues to develop new food safety legislation. “Every day, American innovators, particularly in small businesses, work toadvance up-and-coming technologies to improve the safety of our food supply,” Enzisaid. “These innovations and new technologies will likely be the key to enhancing foodsafety.” “We still have a ways to go. New programs, tools, technologies and authority areimportant and needed, but they mean nothing if they don’t strengthen consumerconfidence in the safety of our food supply.” ####

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