I was reading Dr. Brackett’s “Grading Progress on Food Safety” in the New York Times. Here are his thoughts below:

The Grocery Manufacturers Associations agrees with your assessment that the Food and Drug Administration should be given more resources and authority to prevent contamination of the nation’s food supplies.

Once in office, President-elect Barack Obama and his administration should commit to increasing annual food-related spending to $900 million by 2012 and should work with Congress to quickly modernize our food safety laws.

Specifically, the F.D.A. should be allowed to set and enforce safety standards for fruits and vegetables; require every food manufacturer to adopt, regularly update and make available for F.D.A. confirmation a food safety plan; and require food importers to document the steps they are taking to police their foreign suppliers.

By doing much more to prevent contamination — and by expanding and better targeting inspections — the next administration can immediately address the challenges of rising food imports and changing consumer preferences.

Robert E. Brackett
Washington, Dec. 10, 2008

The writer is senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and former director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.