WASHINGTON -- The Food Marketing Institute here said that public education should be the "highest priority" of President Bill Clinton's proposed national food-safety initiative.
rove the safety of our food supply," and pledged its full cooperation to see such an initiative to fruition.
The president had proposed an initiative Jan. 25 to modernize the food-safety system, calling for $43 million to be directed toward food-safety programs, mostly for increased seafood inspection.
The FMI's statement also reiterated some of its retail food constituency's concerns regarding food safety, among them that risk assessment be dependent on "sound science," that the model regulations for food handling contained in the Food and Drug Administration's Food Code trickle down to the state level and that food inspection and sampling for the occurrence of pathogens be conducted primarily at the source and processing stages of the food chain, rather than further down the chain at the retail store.
In the eight-page statement, the FMI separately addressed several of the draft proposal's provisions, including surveillance, inspections, research, risk assessment, education and coordination among state and local authorities.
The FMI also recounted its own ongoing activities relating to food safety, including the creation of at least 10 programs to educate employees about food safety and its participation in several partnerships with government and other trade groups to attack the problem.
The association's statement voiced strong support for the plan's stated commitment to educating consumers.
The FMI document also supported the continued adoption of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, as a voluntary exercise by industry.