Food for Thought

The president appoints a working group to improve food safety.

March 23, 2009
by Editorial Staff
Washington Post

SINCE 2006, the concept of food safety, as practiced by the federal government, has seemed oxymoronic. The recent concern about contaminated peanuts is but the latest in a series of food scares that included salmonella outbreaks involving tomatoes, peppers and spinach. With each occurrence, Congress thundered about the need to fix the way the nation safeguards its food supply, but little was done. Maybe more will happen now that President Obama has formed a Food Safety Working Group and selected a top-notch team to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

The Food Safety Working Group will include Margaret A. Hamburg and Joshua Sharfstein. Dr. Hamburg, a highly regarded former New York City health commissioner and assistant secretary for health and human services under President Bill Clinton, was tapped by Mr. Obama to be the next FDA commissioner. The president nominated Dr. Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner, to be the FDA's principal deputy commissioner. Congress should move quickly to confirm them so they can get to work.

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