At a news conference Tuesday, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 was introduced by several Senators including Richard Durbin (D-IL) and colleagues Judd Gregg (R-NH), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel released the following statement on the introduction of the bill:
“Providing consumers with safe and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables is at the core of our industry’s commitment to enhance the health of the American public. Health experts are unanimous that Americans must increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables for better health. Industry must do all we can everyday to produce the safest possible products and consumers must have confidence in our overall food safety regulatory system. We therefore commend Senator Durbin and his Senate colleagues for introducing this important piece of legislation which will further serious Congressional consideration of ways to improve our nation’s food safety system.
It is time for Congress to look at food safety law in its totality and move to implement changes needed to address all areas of food regulation from farm to fork. For fresh produce specifically, we support provisions in this legislation to address produce food safety through a mandatory, comprehensive, commodity-specific and science-based approach. We also support the legislation’s goal to develop a comprehensive network of federal and state partners who will work with growers and our entire supply chain to ensure that good agricultural and handling practices are implemented throughout the industry. This legislation represents a positive step forward in crafting needed reforms, and we look forward to our continuing dialogue with Sen. Durbin and other Congressional leaders on these important matters.”