Congress Prepares The FDA For Battle With The Chinese Poison Train

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
(Photo: Lastwear)

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  1. badlydrawnjeff says:

    We must continue to overreact to a small number of problems that we’re aware of!

  2. dbeahn says:

    @badlydrawnjeff: I wish for you nothing but the best – may your pets die of tainted pet food, and you and your family ingest various types of food poisoning and other toxic problem from “the few problems” we’re aware of, and (statistically speaking) the LARGE number of problems we’re not aware of, but are likely out there based on the number of problems we know are in the small statistical sample we already have.

  3. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If there’s one area in which I can support massive government intervention, it’s that of Regulating Poison Levels in My Food.

    Seriously. Hire as many inspectors as you need, guys. I don’t much fancy dying of antifreeze poisoning.

  4. andrewsmash says:

    But, but, but more thorough inspections means a slowdown in getting the product to market, a chance that products may not be allowed on the market at all, and higher taxes to par for the inspections. That means lower profits, which means that if CEO’s want to keep their obscenely-overpaid jobs, then they will have to raise prices. And we all know higher prices are necessary to insure large stockholder payoff’s (Which according to Fox News are the only reasons businesses exist). So more regulation means the chance that some rich people won’t become even more wealthy. Why do these damned regulators hate America?! (Of course keeping people from getting sick in the first place is much cheaper than saving them later, but that would benefit society, nt a handful of individuals, so never mind that).

  5. BenMitchell says:

    @BADLYDRAWNJEFF
    How is having your childs pet die do to non-existent safety regulations an overreaction? I’m not for huge bloated government – but imported food should be held to the same standards that we impose on producers stateside. Yes this cause the shipper pains and cost them more money – but thats the price of doing business.

    @ANDREWSMASH
    I worked in international shipping (Far East Ocean Shipments) for a company based in Germany called Kuehne & Nagel. So when I say that is not a fair assessment – know that I speak from experience. We are not going to test ALL food. In fact I’d doubt we could. But around 5%-8% is a reasonable goal. So the slow down will not even be noticed. All grocers get their merchandise from central storage places. So we won’t really even notice.

    @Everyone – this bill has not a chance in HE11 of passing. China owns to much of our economy and the bankers that own the Congress will never let this bill pass. And if it does – President Dumbledork will most likely veto it. Saying that it would stifle economic growth and China. But that is my 2-cents on this topic. (BTW – I whole heartily support this bill – I believe we need to watch what we import far more closely.

  6. mac-phisto says:

    well, the upside is that this may provide the necessary incentive to move some production operations back to the u.s. & increase domestic industry. in reality, it’s unfair & unethical practices like we’ve seen lately that artificially manipulate the prices of goods in the first place.

    my main concern is empowering the fda with even more power as a regulatory agency. we’re talking about one of the most corrupt elements of bureaucracy literally being able to make or break companies at the drop of a hat. what will stop them from abusing this power & using it to extort businesses, or utilizing recalls to eliminate competition for cronies?

  7. rhombopteryx says:

    @BenMitchell:
    “but imported food should be held to the same standards that we impose on producers stateside.”

    But it IS! (usually higher, actually…) This is just pandering to the xenophobes instead of doing something real. How about all food sources, domestic and international, be ACTUALLY held to the same high standard? The botulism in your chili dog sauce, the fecal salmonella in your peanut butter, the toxic oysters – those were good ole’ USofA bugs. Why not stop playing the jingoist card and have the tests and minimal screening levels apply to ALL foods?

    From the post: “The safety of our imported food should not be threatened by the regulatory inadequacies of foreign governments.”

    Ditto that for the inadequacies of local food and US govt.

  8. BenMitchell says:

    @rhombopteryx: Actually they are not. But I do agree that we need to take corrective actions here as well. But China does not and has never had the oversight over her imports that we do in this country.

    As for calling me a xenophobe – I’d like to know why you believe that. Because I want accountability from these exporters. At know point did I say anything derogatory about the People of China, only some of there practices as for making cheap and sometimes questionable products (which we do here as well) could use more oversight.