Landmark US food safety
regulations to become law
Dec 22, 2010 12:38 PM
The US Congress has approved the most sweeping changes to food safety regulation in seven decades. These regulations give broad new powers to the US Food and Drug Administration to increase and enhance food supply chain inspections in order to prevent outbreaks of disease.
Passed with a 215-144 bipartisan House vote, the Food Safety Modernization Act also includes FDA-initiated recalls and brings imported food to the same standards as domestic food. The Senate had earlier approved the bill, which goes to President Obama to be signed into law.
The law will exempt small, local growers from the harshest of new regulations, acknowledging higher risks of contamination among large food producers and the high cost of frequent inspections for small farmers.
This measure gives much more authority to the FDA to inspect produce for bacterial contamination that could lead to salmonella or E coli in an array of products. The US Department of Agriculture will continue to have authority over meat, poultry, and certain dairy products.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study said one in six Americans gets ill each year from foodborne diseases, and about 3,000 of those cases result in fatalities. The report cited salmonella as the main cause of hospitalization and death among known food pathogens.
The new law empowers the FDA to initiate food recalls and gives it access to company records at farms and production centers to help track foodborne illness outbreaks. The FDA also will establish quality standards for imported produce.
This bill’s cost is estimated at $1.4 billion over the next four years, which includes employing 2,000 FDA inspectors.
Sen Jon Tester, D-MT, added an amendment to the measure that exempts producers with less than $500,000 in annual sales and that sell either within a state or within 275 miles of their location.
Kraig R Naasz, American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) president and chief executive officer, issued this statement commending Congress for giving final approval to the law:
“Food safety is the highest priority for frozen food producers. AFFI has long supported efforts to bolster the FDA’s food safety capabilities and provide increased protections for consumers without burdening food producers with costly and ineffective new rules.
“We believe the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act meets these objectives, and we look forward to working with the administration and the 112th Congress to ensure the legislation is implemented in accordance with congressional intent.”
For more information, visit www.affi.com.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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