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Grocery Manufacturers Association Strongly Supports U.S. Food & Drug Administration Decision on the Irradiation of Fresh Produce for Foodborne Pathogen Control
Date:8/22/2008

Technology approved for control of food-borne pathogens in fresh iceberg lettuce and spinach

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robert Brackett, chief science officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) decision to allow ionizing radiation to be used for controlling food-borne pathogens in fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach:

"This decision by FDA is a very significant step forward in helping to improve the safety of fresh produce. This technology is simply one more tool that industry will have at its disposal to provide consumers with safe food products. However, the adoption of this technology cannot in any way serve as a substitute for industry adherence to good agricultural and sanitary practices that are so essential to maintaining a safe food supply. GMA has been an outspoken advocate for making these good agricultural practices mandatory and today's announcement in no way alters that position.

"As the original sponsor of the petition to FDA on this matter, we strongly support the agency's decision. There is overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the safety of food irradiation. In addition to the FDA, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association all agree that more than 50 years of research demonstrate that, at approved doses, low-dose food irradiation presents no health risk. This technology will provide consumers with the option to purchase fresh produce that has been made even safer while also retaining its original quality and texture."

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world's leading food, beverage and consumer products companies. The association promotes sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity and growth and helps to protect the safety and security of the food supply through scientific excellence. The GMA board of directors is comprised of chief executive officers from the association's member companies. The $2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry employs 14 million workers, and contributes over $1 trillion in added value to the nation's economy. For more information, visit the GMA Web site at http://www.gmaonline.org.


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SOURCE Grocery Manufacturers Association
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