According to our new President, our nation’s food safety system is a hazard to public health.

March 16th, 2009

Is this subject area the next focal point of mismanagement after the government is finished with the Banking system?

According to President Obama he is creating a special advisory group to co-ordinate food safety laws and recommend how to update them. The President made these comments during the announcement of Dr. Margaret Hamburg as the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The president also mentioned that there are too many groups responsible for food safety and that the FDA did not have enough money or workers to conduct the annual inspections they are required to perform.

Although this author supports any activity that drives quality improvement to food safety guidelines; the question is how can a new advisory group help, and who will be held accountable? During a safesourcing blog post from last summer titled The Food and Drug Administration fills 1300 Positions I applauded the effort of adding these positions during a continuing down turn in the economic climate. Now the government is claiming that the FDA is still understaffed and we have suffered the second largest food born illness outbreak in the last three decades since these positions were filled. So, what the heck are the 1300 new hires doing?

What we do not need is another committee to suggest changes that go to Congress which will create another committee and send their recommendations to the Senate where another committee will be created which will drive legislation that if and when approved will be handed to the FDA, USDA and other groups to administer that already admit to having limited staff to administer what is in place today.

Although I applaud our new President for his quick and focused action on food safety, what consumers can not afford to have is another horse created by another committee. I would like to see the following from the executive branch to be carried out within ninety to one hundred and twenty days.

1. A deadline for the launch of the committee.
2. Initial goals to be handed to the committee not designed by the committee.
3. A fixed size of the committee.
4. A deadline for the delivery of committee findings and recommendations.
5. A deadline for committee recommendations.
6. A deadline line for implementation of the committees recommendations

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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