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Commemorating Ifstl For Its One-Year Anniversary In Fighting To Increase Global Food Safety Standards

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and congratulate the one-year anniversary of the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) at the University of Maryland. This ground-breaking public-private-academic partnership puts to work government, university and private industry resources to expand the capacity of food safety scientists globally.

The global food trade has soared over the past two decades. Increasing public demand for international foods has resulted in global food exports exceeding $1 trillion per year. With changing regulations and technologies coupled with shrinking budgets from tough economic conditions, assuring food safety has become a growing challenge.

We know how important it is for our food supply to be 100% safe. Americans need confidence that the food they provide their families is free of contamination. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a big job to do, and the recent Food Safety Modernization Act will help them protect our food supply. But even with the added protections afforded by this law, the FDA still can't respond to the hundreds of requests from foreign governments to train their officials on U.S. regulatory standards and requirements. And the best way to ensure food safety is make sure the food is safe before it reaches our borders.

The IFSTL greatly assists the FDA by training food safety scientists from around the world on the best food safety practices. They learn how to better detect food borne contamination and what they have to do to meet U.S. regulatory standards. This training will enable governments and food manufacturers to more easily detect contaminated food at farms, ports and manufacturing plants and it will increase compliance with food regulations. Over time, this will make food safer when it reaches our tables.

The IFSTL also creates permanent channels of communication between food regulators and producers from around the world, allowing them to work together to identify and resolve food safety challenges. This supports trade between countries and enables food safety standards to rise across the board.

I am proud to join IFSTL in celebrating their first of many anniversaries. I thank them for their work and commend their partners that have helped: the University of Maryland, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the FDA, and Waters Corporation. Thank you.