An import safety panel established this summer presented a preliminary report to President Bush this week. It suggests replacing the current system, which randomly checks imported products, with one that would address a product's complete production or life cycle.

The report said a new strategic framework is needed that would "gather, aggregate, integrate, analyze, communicate and act on import information." However, detailed recommendations are still to come. The final report is scheduled for November.

Also this week, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt will tour a Kansas City, Mo., meat-processing plant and visit with Midwest livestock producers to get their take on ways to strengthen food import safety.

An Oct. 1 public meeting is scheduled for USDA to collect more food import safety ideas, prior to the panel's final report.

Source:, USDA