Brian Ronholm Quoted on US Codex Office Move
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced his plan to move the US Codex Office from the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to the department’s new Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) office. In a Food Chemical News article, 43 commodity and agribusiness groups, who formed the US Food Industry Codex Coalition (FICC), sent a letter to Secretary Perdue expressing their support for the move. While it seems many in the industry favor the move, two industry leaders, including Brian Ronholm, former Agriculture Department deputy undersecretary for food safety, oppose the plan. Brian, currently Arent Fox’s senior director of regulatory policy, said, “Moving the US Codex Office to the trade mission area within USDA will actually weaken outreach efforts and ultimately be counterproductive. The best approach in advocating for science-based decisions with Codex that result in fair trade practices is for outreach to be led by an agency focused on public health outcomes, such as FSIS.”
In a FiveThirtyEight article on the same topic called, “A Food Fight has Broken Out Between the USDA and the FDA,” Brian reiterates his concerns and believes that the US could lose its influence (such as it is) in the global conversation on food safety if other countries believe we set food standards based on trade priorities.