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Detwiler Interview: Food Safety from a Consumer Perspective

Darin Detwiler, adjunct faculty at Northeastern University and Senior Policy Coordinator at STOP Foodborne Illness, sat down with Food Safety News at the 2015 Food Safety Summit in Baltimore, MD, last month to discuss food safety from a consumer perspective.

Detwiler’s son, Riley, was one of four children who died in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Since that outbreak, Detwiler has pushed for a safer food system through various roles.

Watch the interview below:

© Food Safety News
  • Gary

    My heart goes out to people who have been affected by foodborne illness. Darin has great points, but when you talk about not having exceptions then larger companies and foreign companies have a competitive advantage. Smaller business can get choked out and not thrive in their business. Does this mean they should have the right to thrive and compromise on food safety? No, but the exceptions need to exist and they need to be reasonable.

    Alternatively, Government can step in and provide the smaller businesses with the necessary resources to have strong food safety programs and not have exceptions. This would eliminate the possibility of any competitive advantage and not compromise on food safety. However, this means more funding for the USDA and FDA would be needed, even beyond what is needed to fully implement FSMA which we have a shortfall on as it is.

    If the public wants the Government and industry to get more serious about food safety they need to put up the dollars in the form of taxes, period. That’s the million dollar question…it is easy to say “The industry needs to get serious! The Government needs to inspect more and regulate more!” Ok…cough up the money as a consumer.

    • I believe we could use technology (mobile tools for training and implementation) and the publicly availalbe existing information (e.g., FDA’s GMP’s, FSMA HARPC in the human food rules, etc.) to enable smaller businesses to meet the same standards. States have an incentive to do so (as they support the local industry that benefits each state economy, e.g., via extension services for small farm businesses); these extension services could be funded better with support from the Federal Government. Industry development of these tools (perhaps subsidized via grants or contracts) so that the cost is manageable for the small businesses would enable implementation. Together this would improve food safety for us all, more local food sources, and support our small businesses and economy.