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Line Blurs between Food Safety and Food Security Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC - Alarming statistics on inadvertent food-borne illnesses and deaths coupled with heightened concern about the possibility of intentional contamination of the nation's food supply have led government officials to speak about food safety and food security enforcement in the same breath.

As senior officials of the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security enumerated actions that have been taken and should be taken to protect the safety of America's food supply, both spokesmen also emphasized that the key to ensuring the safety of the nation's food supply lies in a cooperative partnership of
the Federal government, food industry, state and local health agencies and academia.

"When we talk about food safety and security, it's important to point out that they are integrated goals. It all begins with a core of sound science, disciplines of microbiology, chemistry, toxicology that are essential to having a safe food supply, upon which food safety programs such as HACCP, Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Agricultural Practices are built," Robert E. Brackett, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, said in his presentation at the Food Safety Summit last week here at the Convention Center.

Turning to the likelihood of a terrorist attack, Brackett continued: "In the era of intentional contamination by thinking aggressors, we have to add food security or food
defense enhancements, like looking at your employees, taking care which parts of your plants might be easily accessible, which foods should we need to worry about."
Alertness, he added, relies on a good food safety program as a foundation, which also relies on a good, sound science.

For a complete report on the Food Safety Summit, see the Friday, March 26, edition of ID Report

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