To improve the safety of the US food supply, in early 1997 President Clinton directed the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a food safety initiative.
C) seeks to address hazards that present the greatest risk, make the best use of public and private resources, increase collaboration between public and private organizations, and improve coordination in the government.
The present legal framework is comprised of many inconsistent statutes and regulations, and implementing authority is spread among at least 12 federal agencies (Appendix A).
Such a fragmented structure requires heroic efforts at cooperation, communication, and coordination (federal agencies have reported more than 50 interagency agreements), but duplication of efforts and regulatory gaps are common.
The broad introduction of refrigerated railcars and trucks, freezers, and air transport created a national and now global food Thus, the developments that have provided the American consumer with a wide array of food products have also introduced risks.
Government has attempted to address such developments by adding structures and processes without always considering their effects on other aspects of the system. For example, inspectors from multiple agencies oversee parallel and nearly identical processes in the same food processing facility.Food safety problems that transcend The major federal agencies involved include: the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service, the Cooperative State Research.Education and Extension Service, the Economic Research Service, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services; the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Department of Commerce; and the Environmental Protection Agency.But the situation is not just haphazard; changes in risks have made the system outmoded.The role and organization of government entities have remained largely unchanged, and the food safety system has fallen behind today's needs.the jurisdictional boundaries of two or more agencies are often not reported in the most expeditious manner.The General Accounting Office (GAO) reports that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which operates a voluntary seafood inspection program, failed to notify the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency with regulatory responsibility for corrective action, of 198 plants that failed NMFS inspection between 19 (GAO, 1992).The estimated annual medical costs and productivity losses due to seven major foodborne pathogens range from .6 billion to .1 billion (Buzby and Roberts, 1997).The responsibility for managing foodborne risks is shared throughout the system because the wholesomeness and safety of a food are influenced by all the people and processes that handle or transform it from production to consumption (Sobal et al., in press).Today's products are the result of many technological developments such as pasteurization, irradiation, and genetic engineering.Likewise, food distribution systems have changed greatly.