House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) has drafted a bill that will dramatically alter the way the FDA handles imported food. Under the draft bill, food imports would be limited to ports clustered near FDA field labs, and would need to display a label identifying the country of origin. Exporters would be subject to a strict new certification program established by the Department of Health and Human Services. And that is just the start.
From National Journal:
The proposal also suspends FDA’s plan to close seven of the laboratories until GAO studies the matter, and the bill gives Congress the option to disapprove the lab closures as well as a plan to consolidate 20 district offices around the country. Spending bills approved by the House and under consideration in the Senate contain variations of language halting the lab closures.
As compensation for keeping the FDA labs open, Dingell would give the FDA the power to issue mandatory recalls. Though the bill has yet to be introduced, opposition is already forming against on a controversial but common-sense provision that would allow the FDA to impose user fees to fund their increased monitoring capabilities.
The safety of our imported food should not be threatened by the regulatory inadequacies of foreign governments. The Chairman’s proposal is an excellent step towards securing our food supply, one that we wholeheartedly support.
Bill Aims To Strengthen FDA Monitoring Of Imported Food [National Journal]
Food Safety Draft Bill (pdf) House Energy and Commerce Committee