FDA Food Safety
U.S. pork producers have been dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the quality and safety of U.S. pork for decades. Recently, the pork industry stepped up to renew its commitment to continuous improvement by adopting the Ethical Principles for U.S. Pork Producers. Producing safe food is the top principle. Because of pork producers’ commitment to food safety, it is necessary that NPPC follow legislative developments involving food safety. Over the past year, congressional interest in food-safety legislation has been at a highpoint.
Recent polls show consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply declining, and the Government Accountability Office has flagged food safety as one of several areas demanding immediate attention from Congress and the Obama administration. Most of the food-safety bills focus on imports and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees the safety of virtually all foods except meat, poultry and egg products. Nonetheless, these bills are of interest to pork producers because they likely would affect commercial sales of animal feed, feed ingredients and animal drugs.
It is imperative that U.S. and international consumers have confidence in the U.S. food- and animal feed-safety system. NPPC supports a strong, well-funded and professionally staffed FDA and backs policies and programs that help ensure the safety of the U.S. food and animal feed supply. NPPC also supports improvements to FDA’s food-safety operations, particularly with regard to imports, and a targeted approach to food-safety plans and inspections based on a scientific assessment of risk.
NPPC opposes broad requirements for on-farm inspections. Livestock farms that sell feed commercially are regulated by FDA and can participate in a HACCP-like industry certification that meets or exceeds federal standards. There is no need for additional broad authority for on-farm inspections, food-safety plans, record-keeping requirements or performance standards for farms. NPPC also opposes mandatory recall authority unless it is limited to situations posing very serious health risks and it allows processors the opportunity to issue their own recall first. Mandatory authority could undermine today’s cooperative arrangement between government and the food industry.
The U.S. pork industry urges Congress in crafting food-safety reform legislation to strengthen the country’s food- and animal feed-safety system, using sound science to take a risk-based approach that is adequately funded and structured. Any proposals should not impose undue costs or burdensome requirements on the U.S. pork industry.