U.S – Twelve prominent organizations have come together to issue a joint letter to the leaders of the US legislature, urging them to collaborate in a “bipartisan manner” to address critical food safety issues plaguing the nation.
The letter, directed towards Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chairwoman Kay Granger, Ranking Member Frank Pallone, and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro, highlights the urgent need for prompt action to tackle significant challenges affecting the safety of the US food supply.
The primary concern emphasized in the letter is the current “crisis” surrounding infant formula in the United States.
Alongside this, the letter references the Operational Evaluation of the FDA Human Foods Program conducted by the Reagan-Udall Foundation. In response to the study, the FDA has proposed an overhaul of its Human Foods Program to enhance its ability to safeguard the food supply.
While the organizations express their support for the proposed modifications, they stress the criticality of further modernizing the Program and providing clarity and certainty to the FDA’s budget.
A key recommendation in the letter is the necessity for cooperation between the FDA and state and local food safety agencies. These agencies play a crucial role in conducting inspections, detecting potential disease outbreaks, and assisting with product recalls.
However, the organizations contend that recent interpretations of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act have hindered effective collaboration between these entities.
To address this issue, the organizations propose an amendment to the Act that would enable the FDA to share crucial and confidential information with local and state regulatory bodies.
They believe that such a change would aid in preventing foodborne diseases, which currently affect an estimated 46 million Americans annually, resulting in substantial economic costs and lost productivity.
Furthermore, the joint letter suggests extending the duration of collaboration agreements between the FDA and state/local food safety organizations.
Currently valid for three years, extending these agreements to five years would promote greater continuity and provide the agency with more comprehensive data for informed decision-making.
The letter also highlights the importance of fiscal stability for regional and local food safety organizations, urging legislative leaders to allocate a dedicated funding line item in the FDA budget specifically for state and local food safety issues.
In their closing remarks, the coalition emphasizes the urgency of Congress acting swiftly and collaboratively to safeguard public health and strengthen the country’s food safety systems.
Their collective plea aims to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to address food safety concerns effectively, reports New Food.