The White House recently outlined the goals and responsibilities of its newly formed Food Safety Working Group. The group is charged with bringing together cabinet secretaries and senior officials to advise on “how we can upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century, foster coordination throughout government and ensure that we are not just designing laws that will keep the American people safe, but enforcing them.”
In an update to the press, White House officials outlined the Group structure, which will include a Steering Group composed of officials from the USDA, the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA, the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Management and Budget that will present recommendations to the president by the end of June 2009.
The core principles outlined were prevention of harm to consumers, setting and implementing standards on a National Academies model, risk analysis and detection, inspection and enforcement, an active biosurveillance system, rapid response and recovery to outbreaks/contaminants in the food supply and a commitment to supportive structure and personnel to guarantee effectiveness.
The group is launching a website (www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov) as a one-stop spot to communicate and share ideas with the Working Group. It will also announce an outreach day (not yet available at press time) where stakeholders (the public and other interested parties) can interact with high-evel administration officials about the issues.