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Federal government unveils new food-safety website

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, the co-chairs of the Obama Administration’s Food Safety Working Group, unveiled a new consumer Web site today at www.foodsafety.gov. The site is designed to help consumers and families get all the latest information on food safety and food recalls in one convenient place.

The new site will feature information from all the agencies across the federal government that deal with critical food and food safety information, including preventive tips about how to handle food safely, alerts on life-saving food recalls, and the latest news from the key agencies.

Consumers can sign up in one place to receive email and RSS alerts on recalled or potentially unsafe food and hear from the top scientific experts across the government on food safety. Later phases of the site to be launched will include recall feeds for texting and mobile phones.

The site will also feature a foodsafety.gov widget that the public and the media are encouraged to download and promote on their Web sites and social networking sites. The widget will instantly update viewers with the latest food safety recalls and will be a valuable public health and safety tool.

Leaders from HHS and USDA praised the new site and said it would be a valuable tool in their efforts to keep our food supply safe and consumers healthy.

“The highest mission of any government is keeping its citizens safe.  In this administration, we see public health as an essential part of that mission and this new website as an essential way we will can help keep people safe from unhealthy food and food handling practices and up-to-date on critical food recalls,” Secretary Sebelius said.   “Consumers no longer will have to search around in different places trying to figure out which agency manages which food product. All the information that they will need will be one easy place at foodsafety.gov.”

“Protecting the health and well-being of the American people is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government.  Our new and innovative approach to connecting consumers to food safety information in an easy and timely manner is a critical improvement in this effort,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“This site focuses on prevention by highlighting the steps both businesses and consumers can take to avoid illness,” said Food and Drug (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.  “It also will be a clearinghouse for information on the latest FDA rules and guidance.”

“Health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rely on information from many places, including consumers, when it comes to tracking food-borne illnesses across the country and the world,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “With this new Web site, consumers will quickly know who to contact if they believe they became ill from eating a certain food.  Those reports of illness can help us identify potential outbreaks sooner and strengthen our efforts to protect Americans from unsafe food and food-borne illness.”

“Protecting the American people from food-borne illness is a critical mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our work is designed to prevent outbreaks of food borne illness from occurring and to react quickly and decisively to contamination in the food supply,” said Jerry Mande, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. “The new foodsafety.gov site will provide families with a one-stop online shop for all the latest information they need to reduce the danger of food-borne illnesses.”

SOURCE: Health and Human Services   |   U.S. Department of Agriculture

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