SACRAMENTO – As the United States embarks on military action overseas and tightens security measures at home, CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. today urged the California agricultural community to maintain a high level of vigilance to protect the food supply for Californians and consumers around the world.
“California’s farmers and ranchers have spent a lot of time since 2001 analyzing and improving security systems, inspection protocols, and other measures designed to secure the food supply that we all depend on,” Lyons said. “In light of our nation’s heightened homeland security threat level, our industry should take this opportunity to ensure that every prudent measure is in place to ensure food safety, from the producer to the consumer.”
Over the past two years, CDFA has consulted agricultural producers about measures they can and should take to protect the safety of their farms, ranches, crops and processing facilities. Publications such as “Biosecurity in California’s Dairies” have been distributed to give these producers a checklist of security steps, such as maintaining contact information to report unusual activities. Producers are also urged to control the perimeter of facilities, screen visitors, train employees, and isolate new livestock prior to introduction into a herd.
To ensure continued improvements to the security of our food supply, CDFA also has formed the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, a cutting-edge partnership with the Department of Health Services and the University of California, Davis. This partnership, first announced in 2002, will work to ensure continued confidence in food production and supply systems. The institute focuses on such issues as bioterrorism, biosecurity, microbiological safety of foods, the safety of food moving across California’s borders, and consumer education about food safety. The institute was established by a $5 million contribution from Governor Gray Davis’ Buy California Initiative.
“California leads the world in agricultural production and quality,” said Lyons, “and our food safety and security measures must meet the same high expectations.”
For More Information
Steve Lyle (916) 654-0462
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814