On the heels of massive foodborne illness outbreaks linked to spinach, peppers, and peanut butter (twice), there appeared to be bi-partisan support for an overhaul of food safety regulation in the U.S. According to an article in the New York Times, "In March, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the full committee, said that on the subject of food safety “there is no daylight” between himself and Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the committee."
Ah, but now that the spotlight has dimmed, businesses are working to water down portions of the bill, and Senator Barton is there by their side.
Pamela G. Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, told the committee that the industry was concerned about the size of the proposed fees for inspection imposed by new the proposed legislation.
“Our industry is ultimately responsible for the safety of its products,” Ms. Bailey said in a written statement, “but securing the safety of the food supply is a government function which should be largely financed with government resources.”
Senator Barton echoed the complaints that fees to inspected businesses were too high, and also argued that country of origin labeling was too burdensome. Barton also argued against the expansion of FDA powers to include mandatory recall and subpoena power.
Apparently, we have learned nothing. Successfully preventing foodborne outbreaks is not a negative for the food industry. It would easily save them billions of dollars. The knee jerk reaction to oppose a well funded and empowered FDA is getting old, folks……