After years of just
listening those injured and the survivors of those killed by outbreaks of
food-borne illnesses in the United States, the House Health Subcommittee finally took some action today.
On the back of deal that
halves the amount of a new registration fee for food producing facilities,
the Subcommittee was able to send its food safety reform bill to the full
House Energy & Commerce Committee on a unanimous bipartisan voice vote.
says the full committee will likely vote the measure out to the House floor
Moving the bill came
during its formal markup today after an agreement was reached to set
registration fees for food-making facilities at $500 per year, down from
the original $1,000 sought by Committee leaders. The deal also caps the
total amount any one company would have to pay for annual registrations at
That concession brought
Subcommittee Republicans on board and ended any effective opposition to the
bill by food industry. The fees help pay for stepped up inspections by the
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates 80 percent of
the nation’s food supply.
The U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible
for regulating the other 20 percent---meat, poultry and eggs. FSIS has
traditionally had more money and legal authority than FDA has for its
According to Philip
Brasher of the Des
345 facilities in Iowa will have to pay the new fees. “In Iowa, the rules would affect
everyone from mom-and-pop businesses to huge corn mills and cereal
operations owned by multinational firms such as Cargill and General Mills,”
Food safety legislation
has also been introduced in the Senate, but the House is clearly moving
faster. See more in the Des Moines Register here,
and/or the Wall Street Journal here.