Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Celebrate National Public Health Week, Pass S. 510

The American Public Health Association celebrates National Public Health Week this week.  The association wants to create “a place where everyone has access to health care and services, where we’re celebrated for embracing healthy lifestyles, and our communities and neighborhoods make it easy for us to make healthy choices.”

national-public-health-week.pngPerhaps one way to celebrate National Public Health Week is for the Senate to pass S. 510–the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  With 47,000,000 sickened, 325,000 hospitalized and 5,000 killed each year due to foodborne illnesses, it seems like public health would benefit by reducing those numbers?

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regulate food, including by authorizing him or her to suspend the registration of a food facility.   

S. 510 requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls.  The Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility reinspection; (2) food recalls; and (3) the voluntary qualified importer program.

In addition, S. 510 requires the Health and Human Services Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy.

The Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to: (1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food; (2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices; (3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs; (4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food; (5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and (6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities.

S. 510 requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems.  It also authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food.

The Act requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency.

S. 510 also provides for: (1) foreign supplier verification activities; (2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and (3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.

Public health and safe food seem to go hand-in-hand.  Let’s celebrate National Public Health Week (April 5 – 11, 2010) by Passing S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

© Food Safety News
  • hhamil

    Bill, instead how about we celebrate National Public Health week by supporting open, inclusive Senate hearings on S 510 to balance out the one-side, misleading hearings that have been held so far? No? OK. How about a full floor debate? Oh that’s right, the supporters hope that next week they will succeed in doing in the Senate what they did in the House–blocking debate under special rules.
    Or, how about we celebrate it by promising to never again mislead people by saying as you did above, “With 47,000,000 sickened, 325,000 hospitalized and 5,000 killed each year due to foodborne illnesses…” As your associate Alex Ferguson has showed earlier in FSN, those are VERY DEBATABLE ESTIMATES based upon less than 200,000 annual illnesses.
    Or, how about “Food Safety News” gives the same coverage to the March 29th release of “Analysis of Produce Related Foodborne Illness Outbreaks” that it did to CSPI’s “10 Riskiest Foods” study? Fortunately, FSN’s readers can find it at http://www.foodandfarming.info/docs/386Produce_Analysis_2010_Final.pdf
    Or how about you keeping your promise to fight to keep new regulations appropriate for small farmers, Bill, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of S 510.
    As well documented in two December 2002 professional papers, Dr. William F. Sperber, probably the foremost authority on HACCP in the world, showed clearly that LEGISLATED HAACP has NOT worked, as advertised, and it will NOT work from farm to fork. HACCP is the wrong approach because it was designed for large industrial processors that COOK the food. It doesn’t fit all the situations that S 510’s supporters say it does and legislated HACCP never will because it can’t.
    It would be ironic if a plaintiff’s attorney wouldn’t advocate that we “have our day in court.”

  • Harry Hamil

    Bill, instead how about we celebrate National Public Health week by supporting open, inclusive Senate hearings on S 510 to balance out the one-side, misleading hearings that have been held so far? No? OK. How about a full floor debate? Oh that’s right, the supporters hope that next week they will succeed in doing in the Senate what they did in the House–blocking debate under special rules.
    Or, how about we celebrate it by promising to never again mislead people by saying as you did above, “With 47,000,000 sickened, 325,000 hospitalized and 5,000 killed each year due to foodborne illnesses…” As your associate Alex Ferguson has showed earlier in FSN, those are VERY DEBATABLE ESTIMATES based upon less than 200,000 annual illnesses.
    Or, how about “Food Safety News” gives the same coverage to the March 29th release of “Analysis of Produce Related Foodborne Illness Outbreaks” that it did to CSPI’s “10 Riskiest Foods” study? Fortunately, FSN’s readers can find it at http://www.foodandfarming.info/docs/386Produce_Analysis_2010_Final.pdf
    Or how about you keeping your promise to fight to keep new regulations appropriate for small farmers, Bill, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of S 510.
    As well documented in two December 2002 professional papers, Dr. William F. Sperber, probably the foremost authority on HACCP in the world, showed clearly that LEGISLATED HAACP has NOT worked, as advertised, and it will NOT work from farm to fork. HACCP is the wrong approach because it was designed for large industrial processors that COOK the food. It doesn’t fit all the situations that S 510’s supporters say it does and legislated HACCP never will because it can’t.
    It would be ironic if a plaintiff’s attorney wouldn’t advocate that we “have our day in court.”

  • Doc Mudd

    The requirements of S.510 that are listed in the article are all, each and every one, good sensible approaches to managing a reliably clean, wholesome food system. There can be no reasonable objection to finally bringing food safety into the 21st century by this means. What a logical celebration of National Public Health Week if this public health measure were passed into law!
    .
    Why does any commercial producer resist fundamental hygeine and preventive practices that safeguard the quality and safety of food they sell to other human beings, unless for selfish pecuniary reasons? Do these operators make the same vacuous arguments to resist protecting clean water or clean air? Is our food any less vital than those?

  • Dave

    I completely agree with Harry. The language in this legislation was literally written by big corporate agri-business. Following the peanut / spinach illnesses from a couple of years ago, the Monsanto & Cargil types knew legislation was forthcoming and had to control its development and effects. You’ll find little or no difference between S.510 and the first of eight similar bills known as H.R. 875 the Food Safety and Enhancement Act. Like the titles of these two bills, the content is nearly identical. If passed S.510 will dramatically limit the consumers food choices and do nothing to curb the original problem that started on corporate mega-farms.
    FACT: Rosa D’Lauro (D-CT), the sponsor of H.R.875, received $180,000 in campaign donations from big agri-business and her husband was a political consultant for Monsanto.
    Celebrate National Public Health Week by supporting the people of our nation by opposing this disguised gift to greedy government farms. We need to look more closely at these proposed bills. S.510 is not only a win for the guilty, but it contains blatant constitutional violations to individual liberties and completely wipes out important protections.
    S.510 is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Don’t be fooled.

  • I find it interesting that the FDA has conducted less and less inspections and fined less and less over the years. It is almost as though they wanted to show how little is done. There have also been fewer severe outbreaks this year and the FDA has done less.
    Inspections and preventive “food” medicine will not reduce food outbreaks. Tracability does increase food safety according to a Cal Davis study and provides a return on investment, also.
    So the FDA doesn’t need more money or people; they need to enforce the law in order to make a positive affect on food safety.
    A kinder, gentler FDA is not the way to proceed.

  • This bill will increase my costs through the roof. Our particular farm produces safe food and is first class in every way. Restaurants do not pay for inspections, why should a small farm. If the FDA did the job they are charged to do…as in 50% of food manufacturers have not been inspected in the past five years…we would not be seeing this pressure to produce new laws.
    The numbers you are throwing around about food borne illness are not true, and besides that fact how many of those that are sickened are found to have consumed produce as opposed to meat or other products of a mass manufacture nature?
    This bill needs a lot of work before it can seriously help instead of hinder our abilities as a nation to produce food on the local-small scale farm.
    And another thing…just who is going to enforce these regulations in Mexico or Chile? Certainly not the FDA who cannot inspect the facilities already under their control.
    I have read and contemplated many of these new commodity specific rules and regs and see loopholes big enough to run a train through. They are not effective in making produce completely safe. Do not put the cost of inspection on the small farmer, else we will all become land developers…when and if the economy ever improves that is.
    We have regulations galore that are not being enforced now pertaining to the National Organic Program. This bill is a joke, but it will also find a lot of support from big agri-business where these expenses are easily absorbed. Jake’s Farm has always had traceback. I want customers to know who grew our product, not hide it in some commingled mega shipment.

  • Doc Mudd

    @Chris – “Our particular farm produces safe food and is first class in every way.”
    .
    Says you. With nothing more than that to back it up. If yours is not an empty platitude, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from a simple inspection process. It’s only after you’ve screwed up a few times that mandatory fee-based ‘re-inspections’ touch your pocketbood and help you focus your talent on selling identifiably safe food products to paying customers. So, no worries, right?

  • harriet

    soooooooooooo, it would be illegal to have a garden or share my garden produce with my neighbors, or to have a community garden or farmer’s market, unless it passed ridiculous requirements set by agribusiness, oh, I mean HR 510….so hard to tell who is actually running the country, wait, isn’t the husband of the sponsor of the bill an employee/board member of Monsanto? OK, I guess corporations are running the country.