Historic Overhaul will Help Prevent Food Contamination, Improve Illness Outbreak Response
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) hailed today’s Senate passage of legislation to better protect Americans against contaminated food and food-borne illness. The measure passed by a vote of 73 to 25. Harkin, who is Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), is a lead sponsor of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, and has worked closely with a bipartisan group of Senators over the past year to establish a broad coalition of support for the bill.
“For too long, we’ve allowed trips to the grocery store to be a gamble for American families,” said Harkin. “The bipartisan bill passed by the Senate today will give our citizens some long-overdue peace of mind in the supermarket aisles, establishing tough new protections against contaminated food. By working with our colleagues across the aisle, today we’ve scored an important victory for the American people. I hope this will serve as an example of what we can do to improve the lives of citizens across the country by working together.”
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will:
A summary of the legislation is below:
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
Recent outbreaks of food-borne illness and nationwide recalls of contaminated food from both domestic and foreign sources highlight the need to modernize and strengthen our nation’s food safety system. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a bipartisan plan that provides new food safety tools and updates food safety standards to ensure the safety of our food supply.
Improves Our Capacity to Prevent Food Safety Problems
Improves Our Capacity to Detect and Respond to Food-borne Illness Outbreaks
Enhances U.S. Food Defense Capabilities – Directs FDA to help food companies protect their products from intentional contamination, and calls for a national strategy to protect our food supply from terrorist threats and rapidly respond to food emergencies.
Increases FDA Resources – Authorizes increased funding for FDA’s food safety activities, such as hiring personnel, and includes targeted non-compliance fees for domestic and foreign facilities.
Regulatory Flexibility – Modernizes our food safety system without being burdensome. Provides training for facilities to comply with the new safety requirements and includes special accommodations for small businesses and farms. Exempts small businesses from certain aspects of the produce standards and preventive control requirements.