Food-safety bill inching closer to Senate vote

by Meat&Poultry staff
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WASHINGTON – Senate leaders have released a 225-page manager’s package of the Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510, a step which may make it easier to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote following summer recess, the American Meat Institute announced. When the vote takes place is still to be determined by leadership.

Senators who negotiated the package include Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), authors of the Food Safety Modernization Act Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) and lead cosponsors Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Burr (R-NC).

One issue not addressed in the manager’s package but has been a part of the discussion of S. 510, is an amendment that could be offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator John Tester (D-MT). Senator Tester is seeking to exempt small operations from the bill’s hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements and traceability requirements and F.D.A. Produce Standards.

“Any 100-year-old plus structure – like our nation’s food-safety system – needs improvements,” said the lawmakers upon release of the package. “With this announcement today, we aim to not just patch and mend our fragmented food safety system, we hope to reinforce the infrastructure, close the gaps and create a systematic, risk-based and balanced approach to food safety in the United States. The F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization Act will place more emphasis on prevention of foodborne illness and will provide new tools to respond to food safety problems. We look forward to working with our respective leaderships to take up this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.”

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