Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the White House Food Safety Working Group Listening Session Wednesday that food safety is of the highest concern for all of us.
"While Americans enjoy one of the safest food supplies in the world, we have witnessed too many outbreaks that make us worry that the food on our dinner plate or in our child's lunch box will harm instead of nourish," Vilsack said. "This is not acceptable."
The Secretary said this first session was a significant and critical process that will fully review the safety of the nation's food supply. USDA is in the midst of reviewing all statutory authorities, as well as administrative and regulatory steps that can be taken, to ensure that actions support public health and consumer safety to the fullest extent.
During the listening session Vilsack addressed several specific challenges that require input. They include prevention, which he said is the key to a functioning food safety system and surveillance and response. The Secretary challenged industry, government, and consumers to each bring a piece of the puzzle to the table, noting that the problem can only be solved if all pieces are represented.