United Fresh Produce Association president and CEO Tom Stenzel, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives on June 3, urged House members to support science-based, commodity-specific standards in the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The draft bill, which likely will advance to full House consideration, is being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"Over the past two years, we have been able to build the consensus in Congress that recognizes that fresh produce demands a commodity-specific approach--one size does not fit all," Stenzel said in his testimony. "Every major piece of food safety legislation introduced by the many players in Congress incorporates these principles that we've fought for, and now we must ensure that the final bill that comes out of the Energy and Commerce Committee is clear in its support for this approach."

Stenzel's testimony addressed the draft legislation through United's principles demanding a commodity-specific approach based on the best available science, consistent and equitable standards regardless of where a produce commodity is domestically grown or where it's imported from and sufficient federal oversight of compliance.

"It is time to end the fears of food safety that have no place in the fresh produce department," Stenzel said. "Our industry produces extraordinarily safe foods every day around the world. ... But because science tells us there is no such thing as zero risk, government must also be able to assure the public that even if something does go horribly wrong in an isolated case, consumers can continue to have confidence in fresh produce."

A full transcript of the testimony is available here.