Not exactly fresh out of committee, but out of committee nonetheless, senate bill 510 (a/k/a the Food Safety Modernization Act) makes its way to the senate floor soon, possibly this week. The full senate debate and subsequent vote is certainly timely, as just today Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his story on Stephanie Smiths E. coli O157:H7 illness and Linda Rivera’s long-awaited emergence from a Nevada hospital where she has spent almost a year after also being infected by E. coli O157:H7. Stephanie was sickened by a hamburger made by Cargill, and Linda by contaminated cookie dough made by Nestle.
The Food Safety Modernization Act is truly an important piece of legislation, in that it affects every citizen of this country, and even some abroad, on a daily basis. The bill substantially modifies the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, and generally gives the Food and Drug Administration better authority and ability to monitor the safety of our food supply, and take quicker and more effective action for food companies that don’t adequately protect against foodpoisoning risks.
Among other, more specific, things, the Food Safety Modernization Act:
Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility.
Requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls.
Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility reinspection; (2) food recalls; and (3) the voluntary qualified importer program.
Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy.
Requires the Secretary to: (1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food; (2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices; (3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs; (4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food; (5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and (6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities.
Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems.
Authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency.
Provides for: (1) foreign supplier verification activities; (2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and (3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.