Proposed food-safety law concerns A.M.I.'s Boyle

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — The proposed Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 scheduled for markup by this week concerns J. Patrick Boyle, A.M.I. president and chief executive officer. As a result, he requested in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton more review and discussion before moving on with the legislation.

"The meat and poultry industry is intensely regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and inspected establishments are subject to daily scrutiny, often using multiple inspectors," Mr. Boyle said. "Although sections of the bill may be viewed by some as necessary and appropriate for F.D.A.-regulated products, those same or similar provisions, if applied to the meat and poultry inspection system, would be a step backward. To this end, A.M.I. is troubled by the potential precedents the bill could set for products regulated by the U.S.D.A."

One major concern with the bill is the control government would have over a company’s H.A.C.C.P. program, Mr. Boyle said. The proper role of government is to verify companies have conducted a proper hazard analysis, identified the hazards reasonably likely to occur in their operations and develop and implement an appropriate H.A.C.C.P. plan to control those hazards, he added.

"We do not believe it is the proper role of the government to establish the hazards and mandate preventive controls," Mr. Boyle said.

Mr. Boyle added other sections of the bill that warrant further review include: user fees to pay for food-safety inspection services; the ‘full pedigree’ traceability required by the bill; the empowerment of F.D.A. to mandate a recall and impose civil penalties; and the changes the bill would make to policies with respect to how F.D.A. determines whether a substance is generally recognized as safe.

To read A.M.I.’s letter to committee leaders, click

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