Three-way partnership insures safety of food supply

“We enjoy a high level of public confidence in the U.S., which comes, in part, from the private sector’s commitment to take its responsibilities seriously,” says Betsy D. Holden, co-chief executive officer of the company and president/CEO of Kraft Foods North America.

A great deal of the credit is also due “strong leadership” in the USDA, Food and Drug Administration, and other government agencies, she said at the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum at Arlington, Va.

Noting that European confidence in the safety of the food supply over the last decade “has suffered,” with significant economic and political consequences, she cautioned “we must never allow the confidence we enjoy here to become a cause of complacency; we should always look for ways to improve safety, while continuing to maintain a healthy, vibrant marketplace.”

The search for an even safer food supply, Holden says, should be guided by five principles in the regulatory process:

  • Regulations should be based on solid risk assessment and consensus science.

    “Doing so will help us to focus scarce resources where they will do the most good, and insure that the protective measures we take are truly meaningful.”

  • Regulatory bodies should provide transparency around the safety assessments they conduct.

“There will be times when complete transparency won’t be possible; genuine trade secrets, for example, deserve protection. But in general, we should seek the fullest transparency possible, because it increases confidence — just as lack of it usually breeds suspicion (whether justified or not).”

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