09.10.07

ENZI: REPORT ON IMPORT SAFETY A GOOD START TO IMPROVE, ENHANCE SAFETY OF IMPORTED FOODS, PRODUCTS

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), todaycommended members of President Bush’s panel on import safety for issuing their reporton improving the safety of imported food and other products, and reaffirmed hiscommitment to develop a comprehensive response to improve the safety of all food in theUnited States. “Foods from abroad and foods grown at home have risks. We need to ensure thatFDA and other agencies responsible for ensuring food safety have the tools they need toprotect the public health,” Enzi said. “Food safety has been making news lately. FromSalmonella in peanut butter, to Chinese seafood with banned antibiotics, to contaminatedpet food, we hear a constant drumbeat of food safety problems that we must address.”The President’s Interagency Working Group on Import Safety today laid out astrategic approach to improve the safety of imported products, particularly food. Healthand Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt chairs the panel. “When Americans purchase a snack, eat at a restaurant, or sit down to dinner withtheir families, they should be able to expect that the food they eat will nourish them, notmake them ill. We need to restore that faith, and I am working with my colleagues todevelop a comprehensive, effective strategy to enhance food safety.” Enzi and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) amended the Food and Drug AdministrationRevitalization Act, S. 1082, to address food safety. The amendment would establishstandards for pet food and set up early warning systems for any problems with pet foods.It improves communication systems about all food recalls, and coordinates state andfederal activities on fresh and processed produce. Finally, the amendment creates adatabase of instances of adulterated food so that FDA can better track patterns ofproblems and target its limited resources to where they are most needed. The Senateapproved S. 1082 by a 93-1 vote in May. “This bill includes the first steps to address the critical issue of food safety,” Enzisaid. “I look forward to reviewing the report from the import safety panel as I work on acomprehensive approach to improve the safety of the food we eat.” ####

Press Contact

Craig Orfield (202) 224-6770