The Food and Drug Administration and USDA are in the process of developing new food safety rules as part of a cooperative initiative between the two agencies. USDA's chief of fresh produce at the Agricultural Marketing Service, Leanne Skelton, will be a key player in developing the new regulations. For the next six months she will be on assignment at FDA helping develop the produce regulations of new food safety rules.
"President Obama, like most Americans, wants immediate improvements in our food safety system," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "As such, we are pulling together all our best resources, state and federal, to improve the safety of our foods and to work with growers protect and promote the health of our nation."
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA is committed to working in partnership to ensure Americans have safe, healthy and nutritious food. Feedback from the fresh produce industry on how rules could potentially impact their businesses is currently being gathered and USDA and FDA officials have been visiting farmers and safety groups across the country.
"We are delighted that the FDA sought USDA's counsel and cooperation as they tackle the challenges of ensuring the safety and availability of fresh produce and healthy foods," said AMS Administrator Rayne Pegg. "The USDA and the FDA have joined together on listening sessions and farm tours, and are eager to develop a system of regulation that will work for American families and the growers."
FDA also has released a listing of consumer health information updates about cooperative programs and food safety. All updates can be accessed from the agency’s Web page for consumers at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/default.htm.