In the wake of President Obama’s $250 million budget increase for the FDA, Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has big plans for the administration’s role in maintaining the safety of the nation’s food.

Hamburg, addressing a group of food industry leaders today at the United Fresh Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., said the FDA would look to forge more partnerships with the food industry in order to secure the nation’s food supply.

“We need to overhaul our outdated food safety system, and now is the time to act,” she told the group.

The largest change under Hamburg’s leadership will be her emphasis on contamination prevention. According to Hamburg, food posses a double threat because when there’s a food safety breach, consumers not only get sick but their confidence in the system is weakened.

“We need authorities to enforce controls,” she said, explaining that the FDA is working toward being able to issue mandatory food recalls and modernizing inspection practices.

While she admitted that her goals were “ambitious,” she told QSR magazine that the role of quick-serve executives was “valuable” in achieving reform.

“They have an ability to impact and provide leadership,” she said to QSR.

In addition, she emphasized the importance of food safety practices in back of the house operations as well as along franchises’ supply chains.

Hamburg also touched briefly on nutrition in her speech, stating the importance of not only a safe food supply but a nutritious one.

“The stars are aligning on food safety and health,” she said.

By Blair Chancey

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