WASHINGTON — Contractors who deal with the refrigeration of food know that there is a labyrinth of regulations beyond energy efficiency and refrigerant venting restrictions. The presence of food means the issue of food safety. So a plenary session here at the 21st International Congress of Refrigeration featured Dr. Elsa Murano, Undersecretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She told the international audience that the United States “has the best food processing and production in the world — but it is not perfect.”

She called on industry to help government in “improving the safety of food” and noted, “We must have the best data.” She suggested it come from both government and the food service industry.

“Government and industry must work together.”

She admitted this relationship was a new paradigm since government has long relied on its own data to monitor food safety. And she wondered aloud, “How do we motivate industry to work with us?”

In a question-and-answer session that followed, Murano said it is possible those in food-related industries would be reluctant to submit documentation that could motivate government agencies to shut down a facility with food products, when industry officials would prefer to correct a problem on their own.

Publication date: 08/18/2003