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Several Facets to Implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act

At the Food Safety Forum this week, several speakers outlined the coming changes with the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is being implemented in stages, with the export segment coming next.  NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler explains why we need food safety legislation:

“There is no doubt that we have the safest food supply in the world. So the question is why do we need this system. Think back to the tomato recall a few years ago, it did about $250 million in damage but it turned out it wasn’t even the tomatoes.”

Troxler explains that the new food safety system will be an integrated system:

“Out of this bad came a lot of good and that is an integrated food system. Integration between FDA and the states and the local food safety official to make it all work is needed.”

Holding foreign suppliers to the same standard as American growers with regards to food safety is going to be the tricky part explains Troxler:

“The trade issues with food safety will be a tough one. How do you hold foreign suppliers of food that you hold American farmers. If you hold only American farmers to this standard, we will put them at a competitive disadvantage.”

And all the while protecting the small farmer:

“We also don’t want to see this law put small and medium sized farmers out of business.”

Another facet of creating a safer food supply, is keeping available food affordable:

“We need to know how much of the food supply is available but also how safe is that food supply. Then we need to know the price. If regulation runs the price up so high that people cant afford it then it doesn’t work.”

But the most important thing to remember says Troxler is that the US has the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in the world.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.