Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Taking the Step Toward Food Safety Reform

Improving food safety is not as easy task!  But right now, we have a huge opportunity to “seize the day” and make a much-needed first step toward food safety reform!

 

Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention is a member of the Make Our Food Safe (MOFS) coalition.  We joined MOFS because it reflects the collective wisdom of consumer, advocacy, public health and victims of foodborne illness groups, and as such, it has earned the respect of policy-makers as they’ve worked to develop reasonable reform of FDA and its food oversight responsibilities.

The question, of course, has been and continues to be “What do we need to improve food safety?” 

 

First, we need the agency, the Food and Drug Administration  (FDA), charged with oversight of 80 percent of the food in this country, to have the resources and authorities necessary to complete its tasks, but right now, FDA is saddled with a 1938 law that no longer can easily respond to America’s and the world’s food production systems.

  

So what’s the problem–enactment of this type of legislation should be easy! Well, not really, because everybody has their own ideas and nobody wants the changes to affect them.  Meanwhile, the list of food recalls, sicknesses, health/financial impacts and deaths continues to grow.  Staying with the status quo is really not an option. 

 

As a food safety advocate who has watched Congress trying to build food safety legislation over the past nine years, S. 510 and H.R. 2749 are truly the result of bi-partisan work.  Both bills have been sponsored and supported by leading Democrats and Republicans because most of our Congressional members realize the importance of this issue.  Everybody eats, so everybody carries a risk for getting sick.

At the beginning of the 111th Congress, the food safety advocates–both consumer and industry–came together and basically said, “Let’s do something  to stem the increasing number of food recalls and foodborne illnesses–let’s build a sturdy bill that simply addresses the most important points and get everyone to take that first step forward.”  The House quickly passed its version of FDA food safety reform in July, 2009; the Senate moved its version out of committee in November 2009.  Everything looked to be on track for an easy passage, but then S. 510 stalled.

 

Stalling by itself is not a bad thing–it gives everyone a chance to review their position and for compromises to be worked out.  And that is what happened to S. 510.  It got modified–the bill being brought to the floor tomorrow continues to be the result of collaborated work.  It gives FDA a specific statutory mandate to prevent foodborne illness by:

·         Requiring all food producing facilities to develop a food safety plan;

·         Establishing a frequency of inspection for FDA food;

·         Holding imported food to the same standards as food produced domestically;

·         Setting standards for fresh fruits and vegetables that pose high risk for contamination;

·         Improving coordination between federal, state and local food safety governmental offices;

·         Developing traceability requirements so we have a better idea where the food is sold/produced;

·         Providing FDA, for the first time, with mandatory recall authority.

Food safety impacts all of us.  We absolutely must begin the task of reforming our outdated food safety systems.  I found this out as I stood next to the bed of my dying grandson, Kevin Kowalcyk, and since then I have re-organized my life to help raise awareness about the food challenges of the 21st century.

S. 510 is a basic blueprint for reform.  After its passage, much more work will need to be done to implement it successfully, and I, along with other S. 510 supporters, will be there– watching and suggesting solutions–so that improvement in food safety becomes a reality.

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for the policy makers, regulators and food safety advocates who have supported the development of food safety legislation during the 111th Congress.  I sincerely hope that tomorrow we will be successful in taking another step towards enacting a law that will provide improved food protections for American families.

© Food Safety News
  • Samantha

    Your a lunatic… if you think this is good thing! If you were a real journalist you would get your fact straight before writing an article about a bill you have no idea what it entails. You will be the one of the first to find out!

  • Jim Schmidt

    Well said. I couldn’t agree more.
    The last thing I want to do at the local level is drive people out of business by regulations. I mean really, I would be putting myself out of business. However, I am obligated morally, ethically, and professionally to protect the public and environmental health so it is a balancing act that does need the input from all parties involved when the regulatory authority starts drafting the regulations

  • Samantha, what is it about the folks who are against food safety legislation? Calling the grandmother of a child who died from E. coli names? Perhaps all the “healthy” food you eat is addling your brain. You know, we live in a democracy and a democracy is about compromise and working together.

  • Monsanto tool detected.

  • Linda Short

    Senate Bill S.510 has been called the most dangerous legislation in our history for good reason. It is more about control than about food safety. People be warned: The Federal Government is about to take control of our food supply. I am shocked that people aren’t demonstrating in the street against this bill. They demonstrated against the health care bill, but this is even worse. Go to http://www.healthcareusa.org to learn more about the “fake food safety bill”.

  • How much does Food Safety cost?
    ScoringAg is the only system, where you can sign in on the website and see the cost. Go to http://www.ScoringAg.com and click on the button, Open an Account
    You can fill in the amount of locations you have in your operation and also how many entities you handle and the system will calculate the price for you automatically. An entity can be an animal, a field with crops, a greenhouse or your vegetable wash station.
    Every grower and handler in the supply chain will need for their customers, groceries and resturants, some type of records with documentation for the products they produce and handle. That’s easy to do with ScoringAg as it is encrypted so nobody can breakin or hack into your private informatition.
    If it’s a small CSA farmer with e.g. 3 locations (farmhouse, 2 other buildings) 5 different field of crops, 1 greenhouse 2 goats, 3 sheep, 1 flock of chicken and 5 pigs, the price is $ 11.00 for a whole year. It covers all aspects of food safety, traceback,land preperation and planting,spray to harvest, and data storage that will be needed as no documention proves that the task was not done.
    If you want some pictures with the product, they can be uploaded right into the record page and cost $ 0.25 per picture and provides for a link to your website.
    A small operation can sign up right on the internet and we can help over the phone with no extra cost. Traceback codes are generated in the database and are included in the record price. They can be printed on a label or the traceback code can be inserted into a rubber stamp.
    For a midsize operation, handling about 350 cases a day or about 10.000 a year, the cost for the records with traceback codes will be $ 192.50. If you would need a barcode scanner, 20.000 GPS traceback labels (2 for each case), set-up fee and training, then the total cost would be about $ 3,400.00.
    Food Safety and recording GAP’s is simple, efficient, and affordable with ScoringAg and I know what this bill entails as I am a farmer TOO!.
    William Kanitz President

  • Leigh Ann Winnard

    Bill S.510 was created and is supported by families who have experienced the devistating effects of foodbourne illnesses in the United States over the last ten years. This is not dangerous legislation; instead it is legislation to update the FDA to the 21st century.
    My son was sickened with E.coli in 2002 before a major recall was enacted. The suppliers internal testing showed E.coli; however, when left up to them the choice was to distribute the contaminated food anyway. My son’s kidneys failed when E.coli 0157.H7 turned into Hemolitic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) the killer of E.coli especially to the young and elderly. Over 100 people contracted E.coli and were sickened and 2 deaths occured. However, we were lucky because my son’s condition improved after blood transfusions.
    People be warned? The Federal Government is about to take control of our food supply? Please!
    A History Lesson for those opposed to Bill S.510
    Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle,” describing filthy conditions in the Chicago meat-packing industry, caused a furor in 1906 and stirred passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act. Some business interests opposed the measure, charging it was “socialist interference.” The novel’s factual base was a 1904 study. But some less political groups, including the American Medical Association, had been seeking food industry reform since the turn of the century.
    A candy maker who used shredded bone in his coconut bars told government investigators, according to “The Oxford History of the American People” by Samuel Eliot Morison, “It don’t hurt the kids; they like it!”
    The Food and Drug Administration later was established to administer the law, and a number of tougher measures were proposed in 1933. With only lukewarm support from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, they failed in Congress.
    Then, when 100 people died after taking a new wonder drug, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was passed. It was a stronger law and gave the FDA injunctive power, put cosmetics under regulation for the first time and gave the agency authority to set food standards.
    Bill S.510 will bring the FDA up to the 21st Century. Me and my family and friends are not paranoid; however, see the areas of improvement that this bill will have on America’s food sources.

  • L. E. Peterson

    Oh good grief! I think it’s time for the hubby and I to find that nice little tropical island to defect to and get out of this country before it implodes.

  • How much does Food Safety cost?
    ScoringAg is the only system, where you can sign in on the website and see the cost. Go to http://www.ScoringAg.com and click on the button, Open an Account
    You can fill in the amount of locations you have in your operation and also how many entities you handle and the system will calculate the price for you automatically. An entity can be an animal, a field with crops, a greenhouse or your vegetable wash station.
    Every grower and handler in the supply chain will need for their customers, groceries and resturants, some type of records with documentation for the products they produce and handle. That’s easy to do with ScoringAg as it is encrypted so nobody can breakin or hack into your private informatition.
    If it’s a small CSA farmer with e.g. 3 locations (farmhouse, 2 other buildings) 5 different field of crops, 1 greenhouse 2 goats, 3 sheep, 1 flock of chicken and 5 pigs, the price is $ 11.00 for a whole year. It covers all aspects of food safety, traceback,land preperation and planting,spray to harvest, and data storage that will be needed as no documention proves that the task was not done.
    If you want some pictures with the product, they can be uploaded right into the record page and cost $ 0.25 per picture and provides for a link to your website.
    A small operation can sign up right on the internet and we can help over the phone with no extra cost. Traceback codes are generated in the database and are included in the record price. They can be printed on a label or the traceback code can be inserted into a rubber stamp.
    For a midsize operation, handling about 350 cases a day or about 10.000 a year, the cost for the records with traceback codes will be $ 192.50. If you would need a barcode scanner, 20.000 GPS traceback labels (2 for each case), set-up fee and training, then the total cost would be about $ 3,400.00.
    Food Safety and recording GAP’s is simple, efficient, and affordable with ScoringAg and I know what this bill entails as I am a farmer TOO!.
    William Kanitz President