In response to the final report by the President's Council on Food Safety, released on January 19, 2001, NFPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Kelly Johnston said "American consumers enjoy a food supply that is among the world's safest. But Mother Nature doesn't stand still, and neither should we. We share the Council's concerns about the need to continually improve food safety regulation. This report places proper emphasis on enhanced coordination of scientifically sound food safety policy among the responsible agencies at the federal, state and local levels."

Johnston noted that, "NFPA is particularly pleased with the Report's conclusion that 'within the existing framework of statutes and implementing organizations, significant further improvements can be made by strengthening our reliance on science and risk assessment, by expanding the use of preventive controls and other risk management practices, and by better communicating to the public and all those working within the food system.' NFPA has repeatedly noted that what is needed is a single food safety policy, not a single food agency."

"We hope the new Bush Administration will continue the job of enhanced food safety coordination among federal agencies that was undertaken by the Clinton Administration," Johnston said. "We need to provide the primary food safety agencies with the resources they need to bolster the nation's emphasis on sound, scientifically based food safety policy."

Johnston stated that, "NFPA urges the incoming Administration to tackle resource shortfalls with an eye to strengthening the government's capacity for targeted, scientific risk assessment. Other key areas include the FDA's import surveillance and presence overseas, education and technical assistance, premarket product reviews, and food safety outbreak surveillance and response."

"The food industry greatly appreciates the hard work of the President's Council on Food Safety for its rigorous study of the state of the nation's food safety policy. We look forward to working with the Bush Administration to continue our unified effort to enhance further the safety of our nation's food supply."

NFPA is the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs.

For more information on this issue, contact Timothy Willard, NFPA's Vice President of Communications, at 202-637-8060; Libby Mikesell, Senior Director of Communications, at 202-639-5919; or visit NFPA's Website at http://www.nfpa-food.org .