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FDA Seeks Food Recall Authority
Date:11/6/2007

New powers, endorsed by Bush, would affect both domestic and imported items, agency says

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Rocked by recent U.S. outbreaks of illness linked to domestic and imported foods, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will ask Congress to give it the authority to force food manufacturers and distributors to recall hazardous foods, FDA officials announced Tuesday.

Currently, the agency can only ask manufacturers and distributors to voluntarily recall contaminated foods.

The FDA's request is part of its new "Food Protection Plan," a component of the larger "Import Safety Action Plan" that was presented to the White House Tuesday.

Upon the plan's submission, President Bush said the FDA should be granted the power of recall for unsafe foods.

"With this authority, the FDA will be in a better position to act quickly if any problem occurs," Bush said, according to wire reports.

"The plan has 50 recommendations in 14 areas of ways to address the problem of safety in all of our imports," Tevi Troy, a deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said at an afternoon teleconference Tuesday.

The food protection plan will be comprehensive approach to the problem, Troy added. "The idea is to look at the total lifecycle of the food -- from when it's in the ground to when it goes into the consumer's mouth," he said.

The code words are prevention, intervention and response, Troy said. The agency also hopes to improve the information it makes available to consumers and to communicate better with other government departments, he said.

In addition, the FDA wants the "authority to act to make the food supply safe," Troy said.

The problem of tainted food continues to rattle American consumers. Just last week, U.S. food giant ConAgra recalled 1 million pounds of ground beef due to an E. coli scare. That recall joins a
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