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Food Safety Across Borders

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza (fourth from left) was among the senior executives from 10 federal agencies who took part in the Interagency Import Safety Conference at Dulles, Va., on October 21, 2010.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza (fourth from left) was among the senior executives from 10 federal agencies who took part in the Interagency Import Safety Conference at Dulles, Va., on October 21, 2010.

Yesterday I visited with FSIS personnel and 9 other federal agencies in Dulles, Virginia to focus on a critical element of food safety: protecting the public from unsafe imports.

The Interagency Import Safety Conference was organized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to bring agencies together, improve cooperation, and build collaboration.  Our mutual goal with these efforts is ensuring the continued health and safety of the American consumer.

I want to express a thanks and gratitude to those working to reach this goal to prevent foodborne contamination and protect consumers. Today marks us as one step closer to achieving our goal by focusing on food import safety cooperation. I would also like to thank our import inspection personnel who are working hard every day on the frontlines at keeping harmful imports from reaching the American public.

In December of last year, the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center opened here in Washington, D.C. to provide agencies with shared resources, analysis and expertise necessary to improving the safety of imports. This, among other initiatives proposed by the Food Safety Working Group, will provide an appropriate forum to address the concerns expressed by consumers about the safety of the food they’re serving their families.

I was able to see today the commitment of our public health officials and import inspectors through innovative ideas and combined resources. I look forward to continue working across agency borders to fulfill our commitment to protecting public health.

4 Responses to “Food Safety Across Borders”

  1. M.E.S. says:

    In such a globally connected world as ours, food safety and inspection is very important. I am glad to hear that you are working to protect consumers and insure the health safety of imported food.
    Will this Food Safety Working Group examine pesticide use on imported food? Many countries do not have the same laws on pesticide use as the US that we have put in place to protect both the environment and the health of the consumer. As a country that imports a lot of food, what sort of policies will the working group put in place to strengthen the safety of imported food available to consumers?
    The US FDA is responsible for much of the safety and inspection of imported food in the country. Does CBP plan on working with the FDA to protect public health in this matter? A coordination of efforts between the two groups would seem to be a good way in ensuring that unsafe food does not enter U.S. commerce.

  2. Dr Arun Varma says:

    President Obama is visiting India and in Indian Press (Indian Express)a news appeared that US Animal Feed Industry allows adding ruminant meat and blood meal in beef and meat (Ruminant Group).I have an impression that USDA has already banned this practice after the appearance of Mad Cow Disease in some countries.Please inform me the fact Arun Varma Consultant Agricultural Systems India(drarunvarma@gmail.com)

  3. Hitch says:

    In such a globally connected world as ours, food safety and inspection is very important. I am glad to hear that you are working to protect consumers and insure the health safety of imported food.
    Will this Food Safety Working Group examine pesticide use on imported food? Many countries do not have the same laws on pesticide use as the US that we have put in place to protect both the environment and the health of the consumer. As a country that imports a lot of food, what sort of policies will the working group put in place to strengthen the safety of imported food available to consumers?
    The US FDA is responsible for much of the safety and inspection of imported food in the country. Does CBP plan on working with the FDA to protect public health in this matter? A coordination of efforts between the two groups would seem to be a good way in ensuring that unsafe food does not enter U.S. commerce.

  4. blogs.usda.gov says:

    Food safety across borders.. Great idea :)

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