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WASHINGTON DC 17-19 Apr 2012 Food Safety Summit a timely event

Though the name suggests the 2012 Food Safety Summit is a gathering of world leaders, it is an ordinary trade show. The regular outbrea

April 17, 2012 - NULL

WASHINGTON DC 17-19 Apr 2012 Food Safety Summit a timely event

Though the name suggests the 2012 Food Safety Summit is a gathering of world leaders, it is an ordinary trade show. The regular outbreaks of food-borne disease in the United States and the determination of the US Congress to cut budgets, including the budget of the agency charged with oversight of the nation's food supply, make the event too timely to dismiss. Several new sessions at the show will be exploring the funding dilemma.

Food safety concerns for both Chinese and United States products have resulted in food

WASHINGTON DC 17-19 Apr 2012 Food Safety Summit a timely event

Though the name suggests the 2012 Food Safety Summit is a gathering of world leaders, it is an ordinary trade show. The regular outbreaks of food-borne disease in the United States and the determination of the US Congress to cut budgets, including the budget of the agency charged with oversight of the nation's food supply, make the event too timely to dismiss. Several new sessions at the show will be exploring the funding dilemma.

Food safety concerns for both Chinese and United States products have resulted in food recalls in recent years, and food-borne illnesses claim some 3000 people in the United States and sicken another 48 million. A recent deadly listeria outbreak, traced to Colorado cantaloupes, killed 28 people and sickened 133 nationwide. Calls for greater government oversight of food production follow each new report of the outbreaks.

A recent editorial in Wisconsin's Journal Times frames the overall problem. It notes that the FDA inspects only about 15 percent of US food production facilities, less than a tenth of a percent of foreign import facilities and no farms. The editorial describes the effort as inadequate, and adds that Congress, meanwhile, is lopping the FDA's budget. As many as 200 inspectors could be laid off.
A letter in October from the American Meat Institute (AMI) to the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction manifests the challenge of addressing the cited inadequacies. It urges the panel to formulate a fiscally sound budget plan that ensures appropriate funding for priority government functions, such as food safety, echoing calls from a diverse group of food and agriculture organizations. As reported in Agri-View, the AMI stated that the safety of the US food supply is a top national priority. "As you draft a plan to finance the federal government into the future," the organization wrote to the panel, "we urge you to ensure federal food safety programs receive the funding necessary to keep America's food supply safe without imposing any new food taxes or user fees on consumers and food makers." The letter noted that food safety programs and inspections conducted under FDA auspices benefit all American consumers and, therefore, should be funded by appropriated funds.
The trade show draws processors, retailers, consultants, educators, food service and government professionals. Several of the new sessions appear aimed at addressing the budgeting and inspection issues. The topics include: Industry-Foodborne Illness Investigation Training; a Food Defense Workshop with the Food and Drug Administration; DA; Updates on the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Reality of Meeting the Deliverables Mandated by Congress; Food Fraud: Economically Motivated Intentional Adulteration; and a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) session. (WRITTEN Oct 2011)

RELATED READING:

2012 Food Safety Summit web
http://www.foodsafetysummit.com/

Local, Organic Food Not Always Safer (NBC 26 Oct 2011)
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/organic-food
-farmers-markets-san-diego-132661253.html

Smarter spending on food safety (Journal Times 26 Oct 2011)
http://www.journaltimes.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article
_ddbc6e66-0026-11e1-aa5a-001cc4c002e0.html
AMI calls for food safety funding without new food taxes (Agri-View 27 Oct 2011)
http://www.agriview.com/briefs/livestock/ami-calls-for-food-safety-funding-without-new-food-taxes/article_8441b2d6-000a-11e1-bdd6-001cc4c03286.html

Report: Industry decides US food ingredient safety (AP 27 Oct 2011)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article
/ALeqM5jNKwNZbjf_OBMoZO9x2INhFhlBsA?docId=55a4ec8f7b7d4be897b5650713ee33b8

China Starts National Food Safety Checks on Dairy, Cooking Oil (Bloomberg 26 Oct 2011)
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-26/china-starts-national-food-safety-checks-on-dairy-cooking-oil.html

In the gutter (Economist 29 Oct 2011)
http://www.economist.com/node/21534812

Timely and Informative Education Sessions Planned (MarketWatch 27 Oct 2011)
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/timely-and-informative-education-sessions-planned-for-2012-food-safety-summit-solutions-for-today-planning-for-tomorrow-2011-10-27?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Date written/update: 2012-04-17