Food-safety bill concerns U.S. pork producers
of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/news/headline_stories.asp?ArticleID=103396
(MEATPOULTRY.com, June 12, 2009)
by Bryan Salvage
WASHINGTON — Although
supporting efforts to strengthen the U.S. food- and animal feed-safety
systems, U.S. pork producers have concerns with food-safety reform
legislation approved June 10 by a U.S. House subcommittee, according to the
National Pork Producers Council.
Among the biggest
concerns are provisions that would give authority to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to conduct on-farm inspections, to quarantine geographic
areas over food-safety problems and to create a "farm-to-fork"
tracing system for food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already
oversees farms, can quarantine animals when a state asks it to for animal
health reasons and has an animal identification system that can trace back
an animal to its farm of origin within 48 hours, N.P.P.C. relayed.
F.D.A. would also be
allowed to write safety standards for on-farm issues, such as animal
control, manure use and employee hygiene under the Food Safety and
Enhancement Act of 2009. Food from farms would be considered
"adulterated" if the operations did not follow the safety
standards outlined by F.D.A.
Producing safe pork is a
top priority of U.S. pork producers, said Don Butler, N.P.P.C. president.
"But the legislation now moving through the House would set up
duplicative regimes and would give broad authority over our operations to
an agency that lacks the personnel and expertise to address on-farm
issues," he added. "That’s a recipe for disaster for America’s
food animal farmers and, ultimately, for America’s consumers."
Approved by the House
Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee, the food-safety bill
could be considered by the full committee next week. It also would require
new records to be kept by farms and require those records to be compliant
with F.D.A. standards.
farmers already keep records according to state laws and industry programs.
Complying with F.D.A. record-keeping requirements would necessitate farmers
overhauling their current record-keeping systems.
"We need a robust food-safety system in this country, but the programs
and provisions in such a system need to be based on sound science and
should be targeted at the greatest food-safety risks," Mr. Butler