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Trust for America's Health on the Recall of Certain Pistachios and the U.S. Food Safety System
Date:3/31/2009

WASHINGTON , March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH):

Today's recall of pistachios is the latest reminder of how vulnerable our food safety system is. Our current food safety system is not adequately set up to respond to many modern threats to our food, including Salmonella. Our food safety system is out-of-date, under-resourced, and understaffed. It is encouraging that this response was so quick, but we need to move to a system that focuses on prevention through the entire food production process.

It is also encouraging that Kraft Foods alerted the FDA to the results of its internal food testing and was able to identify the Setton Pistachio company of Terra Bella, California, as the source of the contaminated pistachios. However, it should be noted that notification of this sort is not required under current food safety laws, and, as we saw in the case of the Peanut Corporation of America, often companies conceal these results from state and federal food safety officials."

TFAH released a report last week, Keeping America's Food Safe: A Blueprint for Fixing the Food Safety System at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which called for:

  • Increasing and aligning resources with the highest-risk threats;
  • Modernizing the mandate and legal authority of the HHS Secretary to prevent illness, which would include enforcing the duty of food companies to implement modern preventive controls and meet government-established food safety performance standards;
  • Immediately establishing a Deputy Commissioner at FDA with line authority over all food safety programs, including the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Cent
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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