Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 9:36am PDT

Food safety bill introduced after pistachio recall

Source of Article:


Sacramento Business Journal - by Kathy Robertson Staff writer

While federal officials cranked up efforts to trace salmonella-tainted pistachios from a California-based plant, two state lawmakers announced legislation Tuesday to help ensure that foods processed in the state meet rigorous safety standards.

Assembly Bill 1372 by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Assemblyman Mike Feuer, both Democrats from Los Angeles, remains a “spot bill” while final language is approved, Feuer spokeswoman Arianna Smith said. The bill is expected to require:

§  Food processors to adopt detailed plans to ensure their products are safe

§  Periodic testing of food at California’s food processing facilities and

§  Food processing establishments to report to state authorities within 24 hours any positive test result for a dangerous contaminant.

“Families must be able to trust that the food they eat is safe,” Feuer said in a press release. “This legislation will close significant gaps in laws governing food inspections, testing and reporting contamination. We owe it to California’s consumers and the food industry that is so critical to our economy, to prevent the next crisis rather than react after people get sick.”

Setton Pistachio, a Fresno-based processor, recalled more than 1 million pounds of roasted nuts last week for possible salmonella contamination. Most of the nuts were sold wholesale to companies that used them as ingredients in products.

Kraft Foods Inc., one of the distributors that purchased the pistachios in bulk, was the entity that reported the salmonella contamination to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Food processing companies are under no obligation to do so. The current food safety system relies to a significant degree on steps taken voluntarily by food processors.


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