Don’t wait for fall to act
on food safety, says CU
of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Legislation/Don-t-wait-for-fall-to-act-on-food-safety-says-CU
By staff reporter, 17-Jul-2009
Every day that Congress delays in
passing the Food Safety Enhancement Act puts more lives at risk, Consumers
Union is claiming – and had the provisions been in place this year’s ‘deadly
peanut debacle’ may never have happened.
The new food safety
recommendations were announced by the White House last week, and include a
number of provisions on which the CU
has lobbied for some time.
These include facilities have written food safety plans, giving FDA
authority to recall contaminated products, and requiring the agency to inspect
high risk facilities at least once a year.
The organisation’s director of food policy initiatives, Jean
Halloran, says that if high risk processors had already been required to
test for contaminants and tell the FDA when they are identified in finished
foods, the “deadly peanut debacle” that struck the US this year
could have been avoided.
The CU is pushing for the FSEA to be passed by Congress promptly –
before the August recess. “This is a strong bill that can only be
weakened by delay, and every day without action means more lives are
needlessly lost due to food contamination,” Halloran said.
Every year, some 76 million people are sickened by contaminated
food, and 5000 die.
The CU maintains that recent food safety outbreaks – spanning
produce such as spinach, peppers, pistachios and cookie dough – “are not
random, unpreventable occurrences, but are due to widespread problems with
our food safety system”.
Yesterday the House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture
held a hearing on congressional efforts to address food safety.
Threat to small farms?
There have been some concerns that stringent food safety measures
could have a catastrophic affect on small farms and organic growers –
especially provisions for on-farm standards.
The CU argues that the Act takes on board the impact on small-scale
However Halloran says the requirements for farms are not as
stringent for farmers as they are for food processors. For instance, it
does not lay out requirements for FDA inspection of farms.