Food Safety Working Group holds first Listening Session

The U.S. White House Food Safety Working Group held its first Listening Session on May 13 led by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

May 18, 2009

The U.S. White House Food Safety Working Group held its first Listening Session on May 13 led by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In consultation with its partners on Capitol Hill, the Working Group is working on a set of principles and guidelines for improving food safety. The White House Listening Session was an opportunity to engage stakeholders in a conversation to help shape these principles.

The Listening Session included remarks from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, the co-chairs of the Working Group, followed by smaller group breakout sessions with Administration and Congressional staff and stakeholders to discuss how to address major challenges and opportunities in this area.

At the Session, Sebelius stated, “We know that change begins with one word: prevention. Today’s food safety system responds to crises. We need a system that prevents contamination in the first place. Building this system is a responsibility we all share.”

Concerning the state of the nation’s food safety system, Vilsack said, “This issue will be one of USDA’s highest priorities. We are in the midst of reviewing all of our statutory authorities, as well as administrative and regulatory steps we can take, to ensure that our actions support public health and consumer safety to the fullest extent.”

Food Safety Working Group

Sebelius’ statement

Vilsack’s statement

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