Durbin Sponsors Food Safety Act

Source of Article:  http://www.wgil.com/localnews.php?xnewsaction=fullnews&newsarch=062009&newsid=175

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is pushing for reform of the nation's food safety mechanisms.

Durbin is sponsoring the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to prevent food-borne illnesses, which he says will be the first major reform in food safety and inspections in 50 years, if it passes. He says we need government protection, because consumers are unable to protect themselves. "Many of the dangers are invisible," he says.

The measure increases Food and Drug Administration inspections at food facilities, gives the government the authority to order recalls, allows the FDA to recognize accreditation bodies that certify private laboratories, requires importers to verify the safety of foreign suppliers, and gives the FDA access to records associated with inspections.

The bill would apply strictly speaking to interstate commerce, which covers most of the commercial food chain. Some farmers' markets also involve interstate commerce; a Durbin spokesman says vendors below a certain sales level might be exempted from some provisions.

Durbin introduced the bill following deaths associated with tainted spinach, peanut butter, pistachios and dog food. He says the food industry backs this bill. He expects to pass it out of committee this year.

(Illinois Radio Network)

06 14 09 by Newsroom

 

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