Reasonable Regulations, Resources for Food Safety

By September 21, 2010Regulations

The Des Moines Register reports on a news conference Monday that included representatives from business associations and “consumer activists,” both supporting a new food safety bill that might be considered soon in the U.S. Senate. From “Big biz, consumers ally on food safety“:

Consumer advocates and big business are at odds more often than not but they’re getting together this week to call on senators to pass a food-safety bill before they Washington to campaign. Officials with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Manufacturers appeared at a news conference today with representatives of several major consumer groups, including the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The bill would increase food inspections, require food makers to have plans for preventing contamination, authorize growing standards for fruit and vegetable growers, and provide the Food and Drug Administration with new authority to oversee farms and processors.

Rosario Palmieri, a vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the legislation would “bring certainty to food and beverage manufacturers as well as the supply base that supports them.”

The bill is S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Its progress has been slowed if not stalled in the Senate because of a variety of objections. (See news coverage below).

The news release from the Grocery Manufacturers Association makes the case for the bill. From “Food and Beverage Industry, Consumer Groups and Non-Governmental Organizations Call on Senate to Pass Bi-Partisan Food Safety Bill“:

“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is too important to delay its passage any further. The broad diversity of organizations gathered here today calling for its passage is simply further evidence of this bill’s strong, bi-partisan support.” said GMA Vice President of Federal Affairs, Scott Faber. “The food and beverage industry is committed to partnering with Congress, the Obama Administration and the FDA to strengthen and modernize our nation’s food safety system. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation’s food safety system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies. We urge the Senate to vote on this important, bipartisan bill as quickly as possible.”

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will enhance public health and safety by: requiring all food companies to develop a food safety plan; adopting a risk-based approach to inspection; improving the safety of imported food and food ingredients.

One issue not discussed at the Monday news conference was the efforts of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to put an amendment on the bill that would ban bisphenol A or BPA. We’ll try to update that issue later in the day. We last addressed the issue in April:

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