A bipartisan group of senators last week introduced a bill designed to improve the way the Food and Drug Administration protects the safety of the nation’s food supply. The bill, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, would give the agency new authorities, tools and resources to reform the nation’s food safety systems. The bill is sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Tom Harkin (D-IA).
“Although IDFA members won't agree with all of the provisions in the bill, we commend the sponsors for listening to the business community and developing a bill with bipartisan support," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president for legislative affairs and economic policy.
The bill, S. 3385, focuses on four areas where the senators believe FDA’s authority and resources need to be strengthened: foodborne illness prevention, foodborne illness detection and response, food defense capabilities and overall resources. Specifically, the bill calls for new science-based standards for the safety of produce, increased inspections of all food facilities and a new pilot traceability program for fruits and vegetables. It also would give FDA mandatory recall authority in the event that a company fails to recall a product at FDA’s request.