congress.jpgI spent most of the week in the “other Washington.” It all does make you wonder, as one Congressman quipped some time ago: “Who needs Al-Qaeda when you have got E. coli?” What would happen if we stopped the petty bickering and actually did something about food safety like:


1. Develop and implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point-based systems (and if you can’t have HACCP on the farm, say HACCP-based);

2. Conduct microbial testing on soils, water and product on a routine basis;

3. Develop a product coding system down to the unit package level (bag, clamshell) allowing rapid trace back;

4. Support mandatory regulation of the produce industry at Federal, State and local levels; and,

5. Support research to determine the critical values for the safety of food, water, air and soils in farming operations.


1. Improve Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems;

2. Create a culture of food safety and sanitation within the firm;

3. Institute a profit sharing model to engage employees fully in the health and well-being of the organization;

4. Require all suppliers of raw materials to have HACCP systems in place; and,

5. Audit yourself and your suppliers.


1. Train and certify managers and train employees in food safety;

2. Create a culture of food safety within the firm;

3. Provide frontline management with the authority, not just the responsibility, for food safety;

4. Provide a line item budget for food safety; and,

5. Provide accessible health insurance for employees.


1. Build win-win industry partnerships while maintaining autonomy to independently protect public health;

2. Provide an outsourced system to maintain inspection schedules, shift cost to industry;

3. Require all operators of all food-related businesses to have a valid, verifiable food safety management system;

4. Develop and implement science-based auditing techniques moving away from the poke-and-sniff inspection models; and,

5. Apply risk assessment to identify high-risk operations for more intensive interventions and strengthen surveillance.


1. Support consumer activist organizations that base their platforms on science and public health protection;

2. Become more knowledgeable about food safety;

3. Use a thermometer when cooking and do not undercook or consume raw high-risk foods such as ground beef, seafood, and chicken;

4. Demand that restaurants be graded for food safety and that the grades be posted; and,

5. Support your Federal, State and local government’s efforts in food safety regulation and vote for candidates that value public health protection.

I know, this is not perfect and there are things to complain about, but it is better than doing nothing, which is what we are doing now.