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“Freezing Battle Plan” for Food Safety

Two years after Douglas Archer, Ph.D., outlined research opportunities that could lead to greater reliance on freezing for food safety, Congress has passed and President Bush has signed legislation that could capitalize on these opportunities for public health.

The 2006 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2744) was signed into law by the President on November 10, 2005. The bill includes language advocated by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) that “encourages the (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to consider priority projects that enhance the microbiological safety of food through freezing.”

AFFI, along with members of the Frozen Food Caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and members of the Appropriations Committees, advocated the legislative language following the January 15, 2004, publishing of Archer’s paper, “Freezing: an underutilized food safety technology?” in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The significance of the paper was the identification of variables that could be researched to maximize freezing as a food safety technology. These variables include the temperatures and rates at which foods are frozen, storage times and temperatures, and the chemical makeup of the foods. Archer also noted the characteristics of specific microorganisms, and their unique interactions with various foods.

Archer is a past deputy director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Currently, he is a professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department of the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

The 2005 co-chairmen of the House of Representatives Frozen Food Caucus are Reps. C. L. “Butch” Otter (R-ID) and Collin Peterson (D-MN). The 2005 co-chairmen of the Senate Frozen Food Caucus are Sens. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Other members of Congress who played leadership roles in advancing this provision include House of Representatives Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Henry Bonilla, Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Ray LaHood (R-IL).

Research urged in the legislation could focus on microorganisms including, Cryptosporidium, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7, among others.


The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association that promotes and represents the interests of all segments of the frozen food industry. The Institute fosters industry development and growth, advocates on behalf of the industry before legislative and regulatory entities, and provides additional value-added services for its members and for the benefit of consumers. For more information, visit