Statement from American Dietetic Association President Judith C. Rodriguez on Passage of Food Safety Legislation
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CHICAGO – The following is a statement from registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Judith C. Rodriguez:
Thanks to the Senate's action on November 30 ensuring passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the American Dietetic Association believes long overdue safeguards will be put in place to protect the country's food supply and the health of Americans. The legislation expands the authority of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate and recall foods and represents the largest change in the country's food safety laws in more than 70 years.
As advocates for consumers to have a healthy food supply, the American Dietetic Association officially supported the bill, known as S. 510 and has been urging the Senate to bring it to a vote as quickly as possible.
ADA believes Americans should be able to expect a safe and secure food supply as well as good nutrition and the healthy foods that have been shown to help reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 76 million Americans are sickened, more than 300,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 people die from foodborne illnesses each year.
ADA formed a Food Safety Work Group to develop ADA's stance on federal food safety. ADA believes:
- Food authority should be science-based and consistently applied to all foods regulated by all agencies for domestic and imported foods. ADA supports the concept of a single food safety agency to protect the public's health.
- Food authority should be collaborative across national, state and local agencies and between government and industry partners to foster more robust, consistent, accurate and timely communication and data sharing that leads to efficient and effective decision-making processes.
- Food protection should include statutory authority by government regulatory agencies for traceability and recall, supported by research, epidemiology and inspection programs.
To educate consumers that food safety – especially in the home – is a serious health issue, ADA and ConAgra Foods recently re-launched their Home Food Safety public education program that provides solutions for individuals to easily and safely handle food. In its first seven years, from 1999 to 2006, this program focused public attention on the practical benefits of food safety, raising consumer awareness of home food safety to an all-time high. More information on this program is available at www.homefoodsafety.org.
ADA is involved in efforts to improve the nation's food safety and to revamp policies. ADA is active in the Partnership for Food Safety Education; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Conference for Food Protection; Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response; Codex Alimentarius Commission and with other federal and state agencies.
ADA's position on food and water safety says the public has the right to a safe food and water supply; ADA "supports collaboration among food and nutrition professionals, academics, representatives of the agricultural and food industries and appropriate government agencies to ensure the safety of the food and water supply by providing education to the public and industry, promoting technological innovation and applications and supporting further research."