Dr. Mohammadreza Razailashkajani
Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Disease
Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
Dr. Montes Niño, Dr. Jamdar, Dr. Talakesh, and Dr. Jackson
The discussion started with consideration of cross-state food inspection points in the United States and the role of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in outbreaks involving several states. The regulatory bodies for food safety were the next topic. Dr. Keene and Dr. Jackson stated that most recalls are not required by law but are voluntarily performed by companies and food manufacturers. Regulatory bodies usually make recommendations that are almost always accepted by food manufacturers. The role of the press and lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants are other important factors in food safety.
Dr. Morowati from the Plant Pest and Disease Institute of Iran presented a short profile of his institute and the pesticide residue laboratory. He raised questions regarding mycotoxins, pesticide residues, and chronic diseases related to them. Dr. Jackson mentioned the association of heavy-metal toxicity with sea-food consumption and the roles of the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Niño declared that it is very difficult to find such associations, and Dr. Keene added that there was no special surveillance program in the United States for chronic diseases associated with pesticide residues.
The zero-tolerance policy of the government of the United States on Listeria monocytogenes was questioned by Iranian specialists. Dr. Matthews, Dr. Keene, and Dr. Jackson all agreed that historical events were instrumental in producing this legislation. Dr. Keene added that in enforcing a zero-tolerance policy, one should keep a balance between cost and risk.