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Statement by Acting Secretary Chuck Conner Regarding the Import Safety Action Plan


"Today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, Chair of the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, presented the Import Safety Action Plan to President Bush. This plan was created after months of intense information-gathering and discussions with stakeholders, conducted by 12 agencies of the federal government.

"America enjoys one of the safest food supplies in the world and the action plan establishes short and long-term recommendations to ensure we maintain the highest standards of food quality and safety into the future. By focusing on prevention and rapid response, we will bolster our ability to apply the same high standards of safety to imported foods as we do to domestic foods.

"As a member of the Presidentís working group, USDA has traveled with Secretary Leavitt to a meat processing plant and met with Midwest producers to hear their recommendations for strengthening import safety. We also co-hosted a day long public meeting in Washington, D.C. where more than 300 people attended to offer insight and recommendations.

ďThis action plan reflects recommendations received from the public, as well as those generated as a result of the examination of our food safety system conducted at the Presidentís request. USDA looks forward to working with our federal partners and stakeholders to make the planís recommendations a reality and in doing so we will bolster the safety of imported products.Ē


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