Food Safety Warning

Articles
September 26, 2008

Food Safety Warning

Over the past couple of years, the food industry has talked and talked and talked about what we would do to reduce the amount of food recalls and food safety problems. And how we as an industry could correct the problems, self-monitor and rebuild consumer confidence in the food supply. We talked too long - and now it's too late.

Over the past couple of years, the food industry has talked and talked and talked about what we would do to reduce the amount of food recalls and food safety problems. And how we as an industry could correct the problems, self-monitor and rebuild consumer confidence in the food supply.

We talked too long - and now it's too late.

Last week, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced legislation for the National Food Tracking System to create a mandatory tracking system for food manufacturing and retail. The Ohio Democratic Senator said that, "We must ensure the federal government has the ability and the authority to protect the public, especially given the global nature of our food supply." And goes on to say he also wants both the FDA and the Agriculture Department to have power to declare mandatory food recalls, when necessary (a power they currently do not have).

Many have feared that if the Federal Government got involved in such a system, that it would tie up the industry in red tape, additional costs, and probably not meet the objectives for what is truly needed. But as trade groups vied for political power - and new revenue streams, the momentum was lost and the opportunity shifted into the hands of the Legislature. The message to our shoppers is that food companies can't solve the problem, and the government has to step up. Shame on us.