FDA Begins Food Safety Implementation Prior To Bill's Passage
Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar is quoted in FDA Week on pending food safety legislation that seeks to implement a regulatory approach to monitoring the food supply and preventing food-borne illness outbreaks:
Top administration officials this week stressed the importance of a foodborne illnesses prevention-oriented approach as exemplified in pending food safety legislation, with FDA already beginning to set the groundwork for implementing new authorities even before the Senate passes the bill. Enacting the legislation -- which provides FDA with new recall and food user fee authorities -- will require a regulatory approach that could involve new rules and guidance documents.
FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor said the agency must take a prevention-oriented approach to food safety, a strategy that pending legislation would enhance. By beginning to act now on the legislation, the the agency can cut down on the time needed to address regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles once the bill becomes law. Sources expect lawmakers to take up the bill shortly after they return from Easter recess (see related story).
A top White House adviser said President Barack Obama prioritized food safety shortly after taking office and still views the issue as "extraordinarily important." Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a member of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the administration is seeking tools to help ensure a safe food supply "by pursing smart, thoughtful, effective legislation on Capitol Hill."
He said the Food Safety Working Group remains focused on three principles: preventing contaminated food from reaching consumers; utilizing good data and analysis to monitor the food supply; and developing quick and effective means to identify and stop foodborne illness outbreaks.