United came out with an announcement that it will hold an FDA Town Hall Meeting at FDA headquarters during its September Washington Public Policy Conference:
The Town Hall meeting will allow industry members to talk with top FDA officials to ask questions and hear their views on all key questions regarding produce safety, outbreak investigations, and regulatory issues. We’ll also discuss ways in which the industry and government can work together better to assure consumer confidence in the abundant array of safe and healthy fresh fruits and vegetables we bring to consumers.
That is a great thing, and although we don’t see any specific attendee commitments announced we presume many of the bigwigs will be there.
Although it will be a big draw, the event takes place simultaneously with United’s Congressional visits at which United members express their concerns directly to members of Congress, so attendees will have to choose.
We can’t help but think that the industry gains more from reaching to members of Congress than by chatting with the bureaucrats.
In fact, one of the lessons of this outbreak is that the trade’s traditional government relations efforts, which have heavily focused on members of the ag committees, need a reformation to deal with a day when FDA supervision of the trade’s food safety efforts is a reality.
We need to build relationships with every Senator and House Member who has oversight responsibility for Health and Human Services. That should be top priority.
You can learn more about United’s Washington Public Policy Conference here.
And you can register right here.