NTF’s Role in Making Public Health a Priority
By: Lisa Wallenda Picard, Senior Vice President, Policy, Trade and Regulatory Affairs
It seems like just yesterday that I was working at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service implementing recommendations from Healthy People 2010 and developing the new objectives and goals for Healthy People 2020. Now, I just returned from a meeting on actions to achieve Healthy People 2030 standards. How times flies!
The Healthy People initiative provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Healthy People 2030, led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the fifth edition of this effort and based on input from public health experts. Input has been expanded this time from merely accepting public comments on finalized plans to include ongoing engagement with stakeholders as those plans are developed. This is where NTF has entered the process as a stakeholder in the area of food safety, specifically the objectives to reduce foodborne illnesses related to Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria.
Reducing foodborne illnesses is a goal NTF and its members fully support, but as all of us in the turkey industry know, it is much easier said than done. The turkey industry has tried many innovative steps to control Salmonella with varying levels of success. Because of these concerted industry efforts, NTF is in a unique position to educate regulators and public health officials on areas that may show promise in helping to reduce foodborne illnesses – and those that will not.
We remain clearly focused on food safety as an organization and ensuring consumers have access to wholesome, nutritious turkey products. NTF is pleased to play a role in the development of Healthy People 2030, and we look forward to collaborating with other stakeholders to tackle the challenging issue of food safety. If you would like to be involved in future preparation and discussions related to Healthy People 2030, NTF members are eligible to join NTF’s Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee. Please contact me to learn more.