American Frozen Food Institute Commends Congressional Efforts to Modernize Food Safety Law Vows to work with Senate to improve Food Safety Bill
Source of Article: http://www.hotindienews.com/2009/08/18/107013
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
McLean, VA – American Frozen Food Institute President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz issued the following statement today following the approval of key food safety legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The frozen food industry is committed to food safety as our highest priority. As the voice of the frozen food industry, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) continues to champion enhanced food safety efforts and commends the effort underway to modernize our nation’s food safety laws. Opportunities of this nature arise once in a generation and AFFI believes every effort should be made to get it right.
“The general spirit of the ‘Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009’ is positive and we welcome the many improvements that have been made to the bill since its introduction. We support that the bill requires all food companies to have written food safety plans. Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) form the foundation of such plans and AFFI continues to encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise and modernize CGMPs. We also support the legislation’s adoption of a risk-based inspection schedule, which makes the best use of FDA’s limited resources.
“At the same time, AFFI believes there are issues with key provisions of the bill that remain unresolved. In the area of preventative controls, the bill authorizes FDA to prescribe specific controls for all food companies regardless of risk. By applying one-size-fits-all regulations to varied food operations, the effect would be to stifle innovation rather than encourage companies to tailor their food safety plans to fit their type of business operation.
“AFFI also remains opposed to levying registration fees on food producers. Food safety is a shared responsibility, and the food industry shouldn’t be required to pay for government services that benefit all Americans. While the proposed amount of the fee has been reduced, provisions in the bill will cause the fee to increase over time without guaranteeing a commensurate increase in service. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation would cost the food industry over $139 million a year in unfunded mandates.
“Finally, the bill authorizes FDA’s district directors to force food facilities to revise their hazard analysis. This provision seems to run counter to a federal food safety law, as it would result in variations of interpretation or implementation at the district level. AFFI believes the bill should require a coordinated decision making approach with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to ensure sound scientific decisions and standard application across the country.
“The frozen food industry’s commitment to food safety is unwavering and we applaud efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of food products for consumers. AFFI looks forward to working with members of the Senate to ensure the most efficient and effective food safety legislation is ultimately enacted.”
The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association promoting and representing the interests of all segments of the frozen food industry. AFFI works to foster industry development and growth, and advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf. For more information, please visit www.affi.com.
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