Former USDA type Raymond hits the right notes on his blog; says White House Food Safety Working Group is pulling the strings

In an email alert from USDA’s FSIS dated January 9, 2010, an attached news release said USDA and HHS were partnering with DHS to open a center devoted to ensuring safety of foods imported into the United States.  

The release quotes HHS Secretary Sebelius as saying ,"With so much food coming from abroad, we must do all we can to ensure that it conforms to the same safety standards as our own food safety systems."  Oops. Last I looked almost every outbreak from meat or poultry was a domestic product.

But here is what I consider the real news in this release. This new joint center was created simply on the recommendation of the White House Food Safety Working Group. If the WHFSWG is that powerful, that three agencies change their tactics almost overnight when the Group recommends something, then here are a few ideas for recommendations from the WHFSWG:

1. Recommend that USDA find an Undersecretary for Food Safety.
2. Recommend that she declare non-O157:H7 STEC to be an adulterant in ground beef.
3. Recommend that any beef product going into ground beef has a representative sample taken for E coli O157:H7 first.
4. Recommend that zero tolerance for Listeria in cheeses remain at zero tolerance, and enforce it so that cross contamination of deli meats that support growth will be reduced.
5. Recommend that USDA FSIS regulate ALL animals and their products, including fish, sea food, shell eggs and dairy, and that FDA regulate all canning operations.
6. Recommend that FSIS tell us what went wrong at National Steak and Poultry requiring four days worth of blade tenderized steaks to be recalled. If they are at fault.
7. Recommend that Chairwoman DeLauro be advised of this by the new Undersecretary so that a law that penalizes the whole industry is not passed.
8. Recommend that the Chairwoman be asked by the new Undersecretary to seek statutory change to allow proper legal actions when plants do sicken Americans through faulty practices.

Here’s former Kansas governor Sebelius on Colbert, and even though she’s an avid jazz fan, which I think is the music that plays in hell, we transplanted Kansans can agree on some things.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time