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ANSI Co-Sponsors Event Highlighting Conformity Assessment Solutions for Food Safety

New York, Dec 05, 2008

Earlier this week, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and three co-sponsoring organizations welcomed over 270 interested stakeholders to Bolstering Consumer Confidence: Identifying Essential Third Party Food Safety Audit Criteria. The conference, held on December 2-3, 2008, focused on conformity assessment-based solutions for consumer protection and food safety.

The event kicked off with discussions on third-party certification criteria from the public policy perspective, addressing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements and other considerations raised by organizations such as the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the World Trade Organization.

S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO, welcomed attendees to the second day of the event. A panel entitled “Improving Food Safety for Consumers: Establishing and Harmonizing a Global Food Safety System” began the discussion with presentations from experts in the conformity assessment arena, including Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice president of accreditation services. Participants further explored the topic in a series of concurrent breakout sessions held during the final portion of the event.

Overall, participants in the breakout sessions widely agreed that in order to make progress on the issues discussed at the conference, a permanent infrastructure that looks at the food safety issue is needed. Many suggested that ANSI could coordinate such an infrastructure, building upon the Institute’s role as coordinator of the public-private partnership for standards and conformity assessment in the United States.

Attendees also came to the consensus that greater cooperation between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USDA, and industry is needed, and that consumers and consumer interest groups must also have a voice in this partnership between the public and private sectors.

“ANSI believes that the underpinnings of progress are standards and the related conformance procedures,” said Bhatia during his opening remarks. “That includes accredited third-party certification and auditing that are developed and agreed through the active participation of industry, government, and consumers.

“Commonly accepted standards and conformity assessment practices will lead to a greater harmonization of regulatory policies worldwide,” continued Bhatia. “And this, in turn, will help to facilitate trade while assuring a more consistent level of consumer protection.”

Bolstering Consumer Confidence: Identifying Essential Third Party Food Safety Audit Criteria was sponsored by ANSI, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), and the Seafood Products Association (SPA). To see conference details, speaker biographies, and attendee list, and to download conference materials, click here.

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