Washington, D.C. – National Restaurant Association Board Chairman Richard E. Rivera, FMP, Chairman and CEO of Rubicon Enterprises LLC, today delivered a keynote address at the 2008 Food Safety and Security Summit in Washington D.C.
Rivera’s address, “Delivering Results, Earning Trust,” focused on food safety as a top priority for the restaurant industry. Referring to this as a critical time in food safety, Rivera emphasized that the various segments of the food supply chain must work together.
“Food safety is a collective responsibility,” Rivera said. “Government can’t do this on its own. Restaurateurs and retail stores can’t do this on our own. If we are to keep a bond of trust with our guests, it requires every segment of the food industry to collaborate. As an important partner along the food chain, we pledge our best efforts and look forward to working together to ensure that our food supply chain is trustworthy in every sense of the word.”
Rivera highlighted what the foodservice industry is doing well when it comes to food safety, including an overall more transparent process, supplier standards, new controls over seafood and improved egg safety. Rivera also discussed the importance of the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe food safety education program.
“The ServSafe program began 34 years ago. We constantly update it and, earlier this month, we released our fifth edition of the ServSafe training materials,” Rivera said. “To date, we have awarded over three million ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certifications. The industry’s leading operators, suppliers, distributors, and academic institutions use ServSafe both online and in classrooms. Recognizing the demands of a changing workforce, the product is accessible, understandable and industry-leading.”
Rivera went on to underscore needed improvements in food safety standards, including mandatory recall authority, improved traceability and the need for more Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resources. On the state level, Rivera said that the FDA Model Food Code should be used as the foundation for regulation and mentioned that the National Restaurant Association is working with state restaurant association partners to get it adopted as widely as possible.
Rivera called for action on the international level and harmonization in supply chain auditing to reduce costs and eliminate duplication. To that end, the National Restaurant Association attended its first meeting of the Global Food Safety Initiative earlier this year.
“Trust is absolutely essential to what we do,” Rivera said. “Our nation’s 945,000 foodservice establishments feed some 133 million Americans a day. Our guests entrust us, and those they bring with them – friends, family members – with serving them safe food. It is a big responsibility and one which we take on gladly. So the way we see it, there’s no room for error, and no choice to do food safety any way but exactly right.”
If you have questions, please contact the National Restaurant Association’s Media Relations Department at media@restaurant.org, or call (202) 973-3677.

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