(Washington, DC) – Today Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt met with National Restaurant Association board member and former Chairman Tom Kershaw at Cheers Restaurant in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Kershaw, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Hampshire House Corporation which owns Cheers, discussed import and food safety with Secretary Leavitt. Cheers Restaurant was the inspiration for the hit television series of the same name.

“Import and food safety is of the utmost importance to our members, and the National Restaurant Association is a leader in the discussion of how our standards can be even stronger and more effective,” said Dawn Sweeney, Association President and CEO. “As an industry, we are continually working toward ensuring public confidence in the U.S. food supply, which is the safest in the world.”

Last week, Secretary Leavitt met with National Restaurant Association board member and Chief Executive Officer of Caribou Coffee Rosalyn Mallet in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Earlier this month, the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, which represents 12 federal agencies, presented the Import Safety Action Plan and Food Safety Plan – to improve the safety of food and other items from foreign countries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Food Protection Plan in conjunction with the working group’s recommendations. It addresses imported and domestically produced food and aims to strengthen the FDA’s ability to coordinate with other federal agencies to protect the food supply.

The National Restaurant Association has been working with members of Congress of both parties, and with the Administration, to address industry concerns.

The National Restaurant Association, founded in 1919, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 935,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 12.8 million employees – making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. Along with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to represent, educate and promote the rapidly growing industry. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.

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