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Food Safety Issues Affecting International Trade, Says Billy.

Many of the food safety issues being addressed in the United States also are at the forefront internationally including antibiotic resistance, safe animal feed, and food residues whether microbial, chemical or physical. Speaking recently before the National Conference on Animal Production Food Safety, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Thomas Billy, said the United States "must further its goal of a unified approach to food safety domestically, and to use that unified front to ensure that science guides international food safety policies as well."

Billy said most cases of foodborne illness can be prevented and the best way to decrease the occurrences is to taking a farm-to-table approach. "This includes encouraging the animal production community to implement management practices that improve food safety, setting new requirements for slaughter and processing plants, ensuring that products remain safe as they move through distribution channels, and educating consumers and other food handlers to prepare and store food safely," he said. And, HACCP is the centerpiece of the U.S. strategy.

Billy also is chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, leading the development of international food standards. Through the Codex, countries are working together to establishing international consensus on food standards. On an international level, HACCP is endorsed by Codex as a food safety strategy, so HACCP is being used to improve food safety worldwide. "This is a necessity in this modem world both to improve food safety and to enable counties to assure fair trade in today's global markets," Billy said. He added consumers can benefit from international standards because foods meeting these standards are safe, wholesome and properly labeled -- whether produced domestically or imported.

"There are many similarities between our domestic food safety goals and those that are implemented at the international level. Of utmost importance is that they be science-based.... This is particularly important as food safety is appearing frequently on the agendas of international leaders. And it has become central to negotiations with respect to trade over the last decade," he said.
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Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 18, 2000
Words:333
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