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FDA to propose antiterrorist food safety guidelines



By Jeanne Meserve
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New voluntary guidelines to protect the nation's food supply against intentional contamination by terrorists or others are to be published this week by the Food and Drug Administration.

"The guidelines are not everything that can be done, but they are important steps that will reduce the risk," said Joseph Levitt, the FDA's food safety chief.

The FDA developed the guidelines with help from the Food Security Alliance, a consortium of food trade associations.

The recommendations, which go to food producers, processors, transporters and retailers, include: -- Checking the criminal backgrounds and immigration status of all employees

RESOURCES
How the government is countering bioterrorism and other threats to the U.S. food supply 
 

-- Developing an identification system color-coded by area of authorized access

-- Watching out for employees who stay at work unusually late and try to get access to files, information or areas of the facility outside their areas of responsibility. There also are suggestions for improving the physical security of ingredients and products. An FDA spokesman described these as "common-sense measures" that refocus attention from accidental bacterial contamination to intentional tampering.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has said that security of the food supply is his No. 1 concern.

Watchdog groups say the guidelines fall short and the agencies responsible for food inspection need more money and more power.

The guidelines are to be published in the Federal Register.



 
 
 
 



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