Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - February 29, 2008

Keep food supply safe

Your Feb. 25 editorial, "Food safety falls short," correctly observes that there is a need to modernize America's food safety system. Recent events have increased consumer concern about the safety of the food they eat. The time has never been better for policymakers to bring about real change to protect consumers from unsafe foods, whether they are produced at home or abroad.

Last year, the Grocery Manufacturers Association unveiled its "Four Pillars of Imported Food Safety" proposal calling on federal agencies and the industry to focus on prevention as the essential weapon against food-borne illnesses. To do this, we believe strongly that Congress should double the FDA budget from its current $450 million to $900 million a year so that the agency can keep pace with the rising number of imports and food safety challenges. This increased funding would allow FDA to hire more qualified staff and inspectors, invest in advanced technologies and state-of-the-art lab facilities, and expand scientific programs. This relatively small investment will go a long way toward benefiting all Americans.

We support giving the FDA mandatory recall authority so that companies will have no choice but to pull unsafe foods from the market. We also believe that all companies that import food into the U.S. should be required to have a plan in place that ensures the foods they bring into this country meet FDA standards. We would ask FDA to look over our shoulders to make certain we are doing this the right way.

America has the safest food supply in the world. Working together in full partnership, the food industry, Congress and federal agencies can make it even safer.

Cal Dooley

President and CEO

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Washington, D.C.

Scouts forming new council

I read the recent article regarding the sale of Camp Catawbaw by Hornet's Nest Girl Scout Council.

I currently serve on the Council Realignment committee for the geographical area of western North Carolina. I would like to correct the statement that Hornet's Nest will be expanding to include other councils. The realignment is a shared effort and will result in a new council, not merely an expansion of Hornet's Nest Council.

Anne Long

First Vice President

Tarheel Triad Council

East Bend, N.C.