We Must Strengthen Public Faith in the Safety of Our Food Supply (Sen. Mike Enzi)

Sen. Mike Enzi is Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Strengthening public faith in the safety of food is crucial to public health as well as the economy, and I am committed to developing a bipartisan, comprehensive response to improve the safety of all food in the United States that will better protect consumers and their families.

There’s too much at stake here to keep relying on a policy of panic and retreat. Hysteria and massive recalls based on incomplete information cost small producers hard-earned profits. That’s not the answer. We must improve coordination among all the agencies and businesses responsible for producing, testing and inspecting food before it arrives at the kitchen table. We have the tools, the expert knowledge and the innovative spirit to find better and more reliable systems to protect the public health from contaminated food. Let’s get moving on a comprehensive, bipartisan solution.

During today’s hearing, “Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Food Safety,

There is a lot to like in Secretary Leavitt’s report and the FDA Food Protection Plan. However, we need to carefully review the recommendations in these reports before we rush to action. Food safety is critical to every American, and it’s up to us to make sure we take the time to get it right.

We must also improve our testing and inspection capabilities. For far too long, the number of inspectors at FDA has been decreasing, even as imports have been rising dramatically, and new food safety problems arose. Finally, we must consider whether new authorities are needed to respond to those problems that are not detected and corrected.

Every day, American innovators, particularly in small businesses, work to advance up-and-coming technologies to improve the safety of our food supply. These innovations and new technologies will likely be the key to enhancing food safety.