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Import Safety Summit Focuses Discussions on Public-Private Partnership for Consumer Safety

New York, Jul 09, 2008

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), working in conjunction with eleven other leading associations and representatives of the President’s Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, highlighted the need for a public-private partnership on import safety through today’s Import Safety Summit. The one-day event, held in Washington, DC, drew nearly 450 interested stakeholders, including industry and government leaders.

HHS Secretary Leavitt The Summit began with a keynote speech by Secretary Michael O. Leavitt of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and chair of the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety.

According to Secretary Leavitt, significant strides have been made in the past year to improve the safety of imported products. Import Safety – Action Plan Update, issued last week by the Working Group, highlights some of the steps taken by federal government, private sector, and international parties to bolster import safety nationwide and worldwide.

Following Secretary Leavitt’s remarks, he was joined by a panel of C-Suite executives from a broad range of consumer-focused companies to explore import safety challenges and solutions.

ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia moderated the second panel of the day, which addressed the role and importance of accredited third-body certification programs in enhancing product safety and building consumer confidence. Panelists, including a federal official, industry representatives, and a consumer advocate, explored possible solutions to the challenges of compliance.

Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO “The public-private partnership must become stronger so that we can improve the quality and safety of the networks that supply the food we eat and the products we use,” said Bhatia. “Standards will help. But in many cases … the required standards already exist. The challenge is a lack of compliance to standards.”

“Our goal is to identify some of the best practices that are already working, to build upon them, and to help chart the course for continuous improvements in import safety,” continued Bhatia. “The U.S. approach to a public-private partnership means we share responsibility for the quality and safety of our supply chains. And when reforms are needed, it must be a collective effort to effect the necessary changes.”

Issues raised during the summit will contribute to the development of additional ANSI-hosted events to be held later this year.

To view available presentation slides from the Summit, click here.

Summit Sponsors
The Import Safety Summit was sponsored by twelve organizations:

  • American National Standards Institute
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Consumer Healthcare Products Association
  • Food Marketing Institute
  • Generic Pharmaceutical Association
  • Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Healthcare Distribution Management Association
  • National Fisheries Institute
  • National Restaurant Association
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association
  • Toy Industry Association, Inc.

standards and certification panel

For more information about the Import Safety Summit, view these previous articles from ANSI Online news:

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative