Office of the Vice President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            CONTACT: 202-456-7035

Calls for Stricter Precautions for Fruit & Vegetable Juices, Improved Inspections

     WASHINGTON   --   Vice President Gore today (5/12) announced a five-point plan to
significantly increase the safety of the nation's food supply. The plan sets forth steps the
Administration will take this year to strengthen food safety and details how we will use $43.2
million in new funds the President has requested in his fiscal year 1998 budget.

     "When children reach for a piece of food, parents deserve to have peace of mind," said
the Vice President who heads the National Performance Review to make government work better
and cost less.  "The Administration is using the most modern science and a common-sense
approach to increase the safety of our nation's food supply and protect the public health."

     The plan, "Food Safety from Farm to Table," is outlined in a report presented to the Vice
President today by Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Department of
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, and Environmental Protection Agency Administration Carol
M. Browner.  The President requested the report in January.  It calls for improved inspections,
public education and greater use of the latest science to dramatically reduce foodborne illness. It
calls for stricter safety precautions for fruit and vegetable juices, improved seafood inspections,
and increased investment in research, risk assessment and surveillance.

     In his January 25 radio address, the President announced he was requesting $43.2 million
for food safety in his FY 1998 budget and requested a report detailing recommendations on ways
to further improve food safety.  The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services,
and the Environmental Protection Agency, working with state and local officials, the food
industry, scientists, consumers, and producer groups, developed the report.

     Today's actions build on previous Administration steps to modernize the nation's food
safety programs, first proposed by the Vice President's National Performance Review.
Specifically, the National Performance Review encouraged the widespread adoption of
preventive controls to food safety, and the implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Point (HACCP) systems.

     A key element of the Administration's food safety efforts has been the Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach that requires the food industry to use the most
modern science to identify sources of potential contamination in food production and
transportation and then put in place preventive measures.  Already required by the Food and
Drug Administration for seafood and by USDA for meat and poultry, FDA will propose
preventive measures, including HACCP, for the manufacture of fruit and vegetable juice
products, and USDA will propose HACCP and other appropriate regulatory and non-regulatory
options for egg products.

     In addition to moving toward a science-based, preventive approach to food safety, the
administration continues to improve the effectiveness of food safety inspections. Specifically,
the additional funds requested for FY 1998 will allow the FDA to add inspectors to implement
seafood HACCP and to expand its program to develop additional mutual recognition agreements
(MRAs) with United States trading partners ensuring that imported foods are produced and
manufactured under systems that offer comperable safety measures to those used in the United
States.  With the new funds, FDA will also be able to provide technical assistance to foreign
countries on safe growing and handling practices.

     The Administration already is taking steps to put in place the National Early
Warning System President Clinton announced in January to track and combat outbreaks of
foodborne illness.  This fiscal year, two new FoodNet sentinal sites were added in New York and
Maryland.  With funds requested for the upcoming fiscal year, an eighth site will open.  This
surveillance system is supported by CDC, FDA and USDA, working with state authorities.
New funds included in the FY 1998 budget will also allow these sites to update technology and
build a "fingerprinting" database of bacterial DNA.  This will enable food safety experts to clear
any geographic hurdle to their work by having a national resource that can help them quickly
identify contaminated foods that are the sources of foodborne illness.

     Under the Administration's plan, work will start immediately on a national public
education campaign on safe food handling.  Today, an unprecedented public-private partnership
was established among government agencies and industry and consumer groups to develop a
food safety education campaign aimed at consumers.

     Research to develop quick, reliable scientific methods for detecting contamination -- like
the Hepatitis A virus and cyclospora -- will ensure that public health agencies have the necessary
tools to prevent and control outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.  The latest research will also
explore how pathogens become resistant to traditional food preservation techniques such as heat
and refrigeration, and will support new pathogen control methods.

     Also under the new initiative, EPA, FDA and the CDC will collaborate with state and
local health departments on research tohelp health officials better predict and control outbreaks
of waterborne microbial contaminants, such as crypto sporidium.



FDA Mission: Protect Public Health

Dear Food Safety Educator

National Food Safety Educator's Network

Nutrients on the Food Label