The Senate Must Pass Strong FDA Food Safety Legislation This Year
Each year, 76 million Americans are sickened, 325,000 hospitalized and
5,000 die from consuming contaminated food.
Most at risk are young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are weakened by other diseases or treatments like chemotherapy.
Multiple foodborne disease outbreaks in the past few years demonstrate that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hampered by outdated laws, insufficient authorities, and inadequate resources. The House passed H.R. 2749 in July 2009 with strong bipartisan support. Now it’s time for the Senate to consider and strengthen S. 510, a bill to improve the safety of the food supply.
S. 510 will protect the public by:
- Requiring food processors to identify where contamination may occur in the food production process, and then requiring them to take steps to prevent the contamination;
- Increasing FDA inspection of food-processing plants;
- Basing inspection frequency on the risk of the product being produced;
- Requiring imported food to meet the same safety standards as food produced in the U.S.;
- Establishing science-based minimum standards for safe agricultural production of fresh produce and directing FDA to consult with USDA and State agriculture departments on regulations to prevent the contamination of fresh produce;
- Improving coordination across federal, state, and local governments and providing grants to build state and local capacity for foodborne illness detection, surveillance, laboratories, and response; and
- Providing FDA with mandatory recall authority – something the agency does not now have.
For the complete fact sheet, go to: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/pdf/Senate-Food-Fact-Sheet-2009.pdf