Food Safety Enhancement Act Update

Yesterday (12/8/10), The House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released a statement after the House passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act ( HR 3082)

From News Release by House Majority Leader Hoyer web page :

“This bill provides the FDA expanded authority to inspect records relating to our food supply and to increase inspections of high risk facilities, provides protection for whistleblowers that bring attention to important safety information, and it provides for a faster, more effective FDA response in case we do see a food emergency. With the creation of a more accurate registry of food facilities serving American consumers, improved traceability of contaminated food, and stronger authority to quarantine and recall dangerous products, the FDA will be empowered to take quick action to address outbreaks and save lives.

“It is important that we move this legislation forward so that the FDA has the resources it needs to address threats to our Nation’s food supply and to provide consumers with increased confidence in the system.”

BACKGROUND Informati0on:

The House may  block the passage of this bill due to the bill pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority.  More on this can be found on:

The Senate passed S510 (75-23) on Nov. 30, 2010 .  The final version did include language from the Tester Amendment exempting small food processors and small farms from many of the bill’s provisions.  Here are some of the farm exemptions:

  • · Farms would qualify for an exemption from the produce safety standards in section 105 of S. 510 if, during the previous 3 year period, the average monetary value of the food they sold was less than $500,000, but only so long as the majority of sales were to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3rd party food brokers) and were in the same state where the farm harvested or produced the food or within 275 miles of the farm.
  • · Disclosure:  Any food sold by a facility that opts for exemptions would have to prominently and conspicuously provide the name and address of the facility that produced it on a food packaging label, or at the point of purchase, as appropriate.
  • · In the event of an active investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak that is directly linked to a facility or farm exempted under this section, or if the Secretary determines that it is necessary to protect the public health and prevent or mitigate a foodborne illness outbreak based on conduct or conditions associated with a facility or farm that are material to the safety of food, the Secretary may withdraw the exemption provided to such facility under this section.  No activities under this limitation expand existing FDA authorities to inspect farms.