Comprehensive Food Safety Reform Moves Forward In Congress

The House Energy and Commerce Committee just approved comprehensive food safety reform, setting it up for consideration on the House floor in the coming months. The Food Safety Enhancement Act was approved by voice vote, indicating bipartisan support and suggesting a relatively smooth passage through the entire House.

Among other things, the bill will require food facilities to create and implement hazard plans to anticipate the most likely contaminants and food safety issues that could arise, increase inspection frequency overall and base frequency on high-risk facilities, implement better traceability to respond to outbreaks, give the FDA authority to order recalls of food and impose civil penalties on producers, and fund the FDA, in part, by requiring registration fees from producers.

Importantly, the version of the bill that was sent out of committee includes language on bisphenol-A that will protect infants, young children, pregnant women, and adults by directing the FDA to assess the effects of exposure to BPA in food and beverage containers and determining any approved uses. If the FDA determines that a currently approved use for BPA is unsafe, it will take action to revoke its approval and notify the public.

Food Safety Overhaul Approved by House Panel [CQ]
(Photo: cyanocorax)