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    GMA Pushes Industry Food Safety Proposal on Hill

    WASHINGTON -- The Grocery Manufacturers Association's (GMA) president and c.e.o. Cal Dooley yesterday testified before the U.S. Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding the food and beverage industry's proposal to strengthen, modernize, and improve the nation¿s food production system.

    WASHINGTON -- The Grocery Manufacturers Association's (GMA) president and c.e.o. Cal Dooley yesterday testified before the U.S. Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding the food and beverage industry's proposal to strengthen, modernize, and improve the nation’s food production system.

    “Americans enjoy the safest food supply in the world, but food and beverage companies recognize that steps must be taken to make our food supply even safer,” said Dooley in a statement. “Ensuring the safety of our products -- and thereby maintaining the confidence of consumers -- is the single most important goal of the food and beverage industry. Product safety is the foundation of consumer trust and our industry devotes enormous resources to ensure that our products are safe.”

    Dooley said the trade group believes that “the prevention of contamination -- through the adoption of preventive controls -- should continue to be the foundation of our nation’s food safety strategies.”

    Specifically, GMA is asking Congress to consider the following proposals:
    -- Require every food importer of record to implement a foreign suppler quality assurance program based upon FDA guidance and subject to FDA review.
    -- Expand FDA’s ability to build the capacity of foreign governments to detect threats and to harmonize food safety standards.
    -- Give FDA the authority to detain imports when inspections of foreign facilities are warranted but are unduly delayed or denied.
    -- Enhance training of federal and state inspectors and focus FDA inspections on imports posing greater risk to public health by creating a voluntary program to expedite food imports posing no risk.
    -- Permit FDA to mandate that fruits and vegetables are produced according to good agricultural practices.
    -- Modernize preventative controls for packaged food products to reflect scientific advances.
    -- Require facility registrations every two years.
    -- Permit increased inspections of facilities, provided inspections are linked to risk and compliance history.
    -- Grant FDA the authority to issue a mandatory recall if a company has refused to conduct a voluntary recall and there is a significant risk to public health.

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