Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Richard Burr (R-NC) have introduced bipartisan food-safety legislation, “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” that would improve the way that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects the safety of the food supply.
Durbin said, “Over the last year we’ve seen major recalls of peanut butter and jalapeno peppers spiked with salmonella, spinach laced with E-coli and chili loaded with botulism. It’s clear these aren’t isolated incidents and are the result of a food safety system that’s outdated, under-funded and overwhelmed. Today’s bipartisan bill will close many of the gaping holes in FDA’s food safety authority and help to ensure the food on our store shelves is safe.”
The legislation would require domestic food facilities to write hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plans; FDA would set commodity-specific standards for fresh produce; high-risk imports to be certified as meeting U.S. standards; and FDA to set up an accreditation system for third-party inspectors of food facilities. More frequent inspections, with specific timelines for high-risk facilities would be conducted.
Along with mandatory recall authority, FDA also could suspend a food facility’s registration if there is a reasonable probability a food would cause serious adverse health consequences.