President's panel to improve import safety convenes Thursday at Texas A&M

October 16, 2007

A Presidential panel looking at how to prevent import safety problems such as the recent product quality issues involving pet food ingredients, apparel, toys and seafood, will gather for a one-day conference on the Texas A&M University campus on Oct. 18.

Leading speakers will include Michael O. Leavitt, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, FDA commissioner; and Dr. Richard Raymond, USDA under secretary for food safety, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

"We are grateful for this opportunity to host this important event in which issues regarding the science and technology behind the safety of imported foods, feed and drugs will be discussed by distinguished panels of government, academic and industry experts," said Dr. Elsa Murano, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences for The Texas A&M University System.

Secretary Leavitt chairs the federal Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, established in July by President Bush to examine and improve ways to ensure the safety of products imported into the United States. Approximately $2 trillion of imported goods entered the country in 2006, and experts project this amount with triple by 2015.
The working group, comprised of senior officials from 12 federal departments and agencies, is charged to report an action plan by mid-November. Additional information on the panel's activities can be found at

The meeting at Texas A&M will involve import safety experts from eight universities and five corporations. They will discuss issues involving global process control, verification activities, and supply chain management.

Hosted by Texas A&M Agriculture's Center for Food Safety, the conference will begin at 8 a.m. in Rooms 212-226 of the Memorial Student Center. For more information on the conference agenda and to register for the event, go to For a map showing the meeting site on campus, link to

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

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