More effective and efficient use of existing enforcement authority will go a long way to addressing any shortcomings in federal food safety operations, the Grocery Manufacturers of America said today. GMA said it would thoroughly review a report released today by the Agriculture Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which assessed the effectiveness of USDA meat and poultry inspection processes.

“There’s no turning back from the industry-developed science-based inspection system — HACCP — which is designed to enhance the safety of meat and poultry products,” said Stacey Zawel, Ph.D., GMA Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Policy. “GMA strongly supports the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points program, which must be the foundation of inspection and enforcement efforts where scientific data shows the greatest food safety risks.

“The problem at USDA is not with an inadequate food safety infrastructure. Improvements need to be made in how the science-based regulations are executed. The food industry will continue to work with the federal government to ensure that an optimal, workable system exists to ensure consumers that our food supply remains the safest in the world.

“What regulators and lawmakers need to remember is that you cannot test your way to food safety,” said Zawel. “Effective, science-based prevention methods and sufficient oversight will do more to ensure food safety than an enlarged federal food safety bureaucracy.”

GMA is the world’s largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of 42 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.

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