Robots And Science Will Keep Our Food Safe

The Administration envisions a future where science and technology keep our food supply safe and secure. The multi-agency working group tasked with improving food safety has yet to agree on final recommendations, but both interest groups and the Administration seem dead set against new inspectors. Instead, the working group wants to build upon the current system of random inspections to better target potential dangers among the $2.2 trillion worth of goods imported each year.

…the import safety panel is expected to push for expanded use of technology to more quickly identify risky imports. Leavitt has supported the use of technology at the border that could read the contents of a sports drink bottle, for example, looking for potentially toxic chemicals without opening it. The FDA is developing a food-safety strategy to be unveiled this fall that would rely on risk-based inspection but has not asked for more resources to pay for more inspections.

The Administration’s plan is earning awkward glances from Congress and consumer advocates. Consumers Union wants more inspectors on the ground, both here and abroad. Congress wants to reorganize the food safety system under one agency, but for the moment, will settle for more inspectors. Congress plans to fund additional inspections by imposing user fees on many of the interest group members that, unsurprisingly, support the Administration’s plan.

Technology Seen as Key To Upgrading Food Safety [Washington Post]
(AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)