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Progress on the Food Safety Act

The Senate’s version of the food safety bill introduced last year – S.510 – looks like it finally has enough bipartisan agreement on key issues and might have a chance of passing. Some of the provisions of the bill include:

Hazard analysis and preventive controls: Facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food must have in place risk-based preventive control plans to address identified hazards and prevent adulteration. The FDA will have access to these plans and relevant documentation. These requirements do not apply to restaurants or most farms.

Imports: All importers must verify the safety of foreign suppliers and imported food. The FDA can require certification for “high-risk” foods and can deny food that lacks certification or is from a foreign facility that has refused U.S. inspectors.

Inspection: The FDA will have additional resources to hire new inspectors and requires the FDA to inspect food facilities more frequently.

Mandatory Recall Authority: The FDA will have authority to order a mandatory recall of a food product if the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death and a company has failed to voluntarily recall the product upon FDA’s request.

Surveillance: Enhances surveillance systems to detect foodborne illnesses.

Traceback: Requires the FDA to establish a pilot project to test and evaluate new methods for rapidly tracking foods in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak.

Increased FDA Resources: Increases funding for the FDA’s food safety activities through increased appropriations and targeted fees for food facility reinspection, food recalls, and the voluntary qualified importer program.

The legislation includes training for facilities so they can come into compliance with new safety requirements and includes special accommodations for small businesses and farms. There are also no changes to current organic farming practices and does not change the current definition of farm under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act. Any farm that is not currently required to register with FDA will not be required to do so under this legislation.

The current version of the bill is available for download, just click on this link.

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