More food safety

Recognizing an issue that resonates with the public, the Clinton Administration continues to give high priority to food safety. The Administation's FY2000 budget contains a 12% increase for food safety initiatives, with approximately $105 million more divided among U.S.

Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. Most of the additional funds will be used to (a) implement HACCP programs in smaller meat and poultry processing facilities, (b) increase the number of FDA inspections at plants packaging high-risk foods, and (c) build new labs to track outbreaks of food-related illnesses. Other food safety initiatives being promoted by the administration include expanded research into effective means of preventing contamination, an important function of food packaging. While applauding the increase in funding for food safety, the food industry reiterated its hope that resources be devoted to science-based programs targeting "real risks" and that education be a key component. Food packaging labels have long been regarded as an effective, direct means of providing consumers with needed information. The food industry also urged the administration not to include user fees as part of the funding mechanism.

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