Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, chairman of the Import Safety Working Group and acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner gathered comments on the proposed plan to improve import safety at a public meeting in Washington on Monday.
"The President convened this working group to make certain we are using the most effective strategies to ensure safe food products for our citizens and to ensure that we maintain consumer confidence in our food system," Conner said.
Balancing security of imported food products while maintaining smooth trade flow is a big part of the working group's task. Leavitt says we need to create a better system that builds quality into the product from the very start.
"The keystones of this framework are prevention, early intervention, and of course rapid response to problems," Conner said.
The final draft of the import safety plan is scheduled to be presented to President Bush in mid-Novemeber.