The Department of Homeland Security has opened a center devoted to ensuring the safety of foods imported to the United States. The Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center for Import Safety is operating under the direction of Customs and Border Protection. It was created on the recommendation of President Obama's Food Safety Working Group, which is charged with advising the President on how to upgrade the U.S. food safety system for the 21st century.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are co-chairs of the Food Safety Working Group. Secretary Sebelius says with so much food coming from abroad, we must do all we can to ensure that it conforms to the same safety standards as our own food safety systems. Secretary Vilsack calls the new CTAC an important step toward the type of collaboration necessary to ensure that Americans have access to a safe and healthy food supply.
CTAC, located in Washington, D.C., will specifically target shipments of imported cargo, including food, for possible safety violations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and other partnering government agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will provide on-site expertise at the Center.