The US food safety system could be strengthened if regulators were to compile a list ranking the most high-risk products, the USDA has said.

Addressing the House of Representatives agriculture subcommittee, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service administrator Alfred Almanza said that the move would allow lawmakers and investigators to focus on products that present a greater risk.

“We all need to look at the various levels of risk posed by different food products, and the different performance of the establishments that manufacture those food products, for the entire food supply,” he suggested.

Almanza said “hard questions” needed to be asked about the appropriate level of inspection for different foods, what roles different agencies should take and how to address uniformity in food imports.

The US has been hit by a series of high-profile food recalls, which have resulted in widespread calls to reform the food safety system,

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Last month, President Barack Obama formed a White House panel, headed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius, tasked with identifying ways to improve food safety in the country.