GMA, FMI, PMA Urge Senate to Vote on Food Safety Bill

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GMA, FMI, PMA Urge Senate to Vote on Food Safety Bill

In a joint letter to Senate leaders, 18 organizations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) urged the quick passage of S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, at the soonest possible date.

With a strong bipartisan bill approved in November, the letter affirmed that a vote in the first weeks of 2010 would keep the momentum going for enactment of landmark food-safety legislation.

The letter further noted that “[s]trong food-safety legislation will reduce the risk of contamination and thereby better protect public health and safety, raise the bar for the food industry, and deter bad actors. S. 510 will provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help make prevention the focus of our food safety strategies. Among other things, this legislation requires food companies to develop a food safety plan; it improves the safety of imported food and food ingredients; and it adopts a risk-based approach to inspection.”

Aside from GMI, FMI and PMA, other groups that signed the letter included:

—American Public Health Association
—Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Education
—Center for Science in the Public Interest
—Consumer Federation of America
—Consumers Union
—International Bottled Water Association
—National Association of Manufacturers
—National Confectioners Association
—National Consumers League
—National Restaurant Association
—The PEW Charitable Trusts
—Trust for America’s Health
—Snack Food Association
—S.T.O.P Safe Tables Our Priority

In other GMA news, Robert Brackett, Ph.D., the organization’s SVP for scientific and regulatory affairs and chief science officer, will be depart from the association in 2010, while the search for his successor is conducted to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“I am proud to have helped lead the organization at such an important time, and equally proud of the work the scientific and regulatory affairs team has done over the past two years,” said Brackett, noting the “great sense of accomplishment” that has accompanied his tenure at GMA. However, he added, “The time has come for me to pursue the next professional challenge of my career.”

GMA president and CEO Pamela G. Bailey praised Bracket’s “immeasurable impact” during his time at the association, which included the initiation of GMA’s Science Institute, his role in helping to modernize the association’s scientific capabilities and services, and his advice and counsel with regard to GMA’s food safety initiative. “Identifying a successor for Bob Brackett will not be an easy task,” she noted.