Citing an existing health hazard, President Obama announced during his Saturday radio address, the creation of a special interagency panel on food safety, arguing that the status quo was "unacceptable." The Food Safety Working Group, chaired by the secretaries of health and human services and agriculture, will coordinate US government activities aimed at upgrading and enforcing food safety laws.

"I expect this group to report back to me with recommendations as soon as possible”

"In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your president, but as a parent." (see above)

"Part of the reason is that many of the laws and regulations governing food safety in America have not been updated since they were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt."

"It’s also because our system of inspection and enforcement is spread out so widely among so many people that it’s difficult for different parts of our government to share information, work together, and solve problems."

"That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable.”

The President also pointed out that the FDA had been underfunded and understaffed, as a result of which roughly 95 percent of food processing plants and warehouses go uninspected each year.  He stressed that his administration was investing one billion dollars in strengthening the food safety system and modernizing FDA laboratories.

Mr. President, do not forget FSIS – As ABC News reports – "Check your burgers – E. coli Season is Coming."

  • Claudia Coles

    So Bill, any chance you will get to particiate in this new working group referenced in today’s radio address?
    “In his radio address, Mr. Obama announced the creation of the Food Safety Working Group”
    Who participates on such a work group is important and I hope that the group looks at more than just federal agencies. Strong state and local food safety programs are really the back bone of inspections and local/regional response work.
    Plus I don’t need to tell you the importance of good Epi programs and laboratory work.
    So far, Washington State has not cut funding for the ag or health food saftey programs performing such work but we have hiring and training restrictions because of the budget crisis and locals have certainly been impacted.
    I would like to see that we have participants on this workgroup that understand that we can’t just change/fund the federal agencies without looking at other food safety areas.
    So if you get the chance to participate….. Go for it! Claudia