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USA: Senate passes Food Safety Modernization Act

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The US Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2010, FDA reports. This bill directly enlarges FDA’s legal and regulatory authority over food in nearly every sector. Very directly, this bill will substantially increase the regulatory compliance burden on foreign food manufacturers, farms, and food importers without a proportional affect on food safety. In addition to representing huge projected government spending, this bill will cause producers to raise food prices and it will noticeably-slow food imports without a significant improvement in food safety. In response to foodborne illnesses traced to certain raw agricultural products, Senator Richard Durbin introduced yet more regulations to ‘solve’ the problem, and he received eight Republican and thirteen Democratic co-sponsors.

If enacted, FSMA will be a failure primarily because it presumes that food safety will be enhanced through increased regulations without evaluating whether FDA is competent to execute the bill’s mandate. FSMA requires FDA to establish and publish science-based minimum standards for ‘safe production and harvesting’ of raw agricultural fruit and vegetable commodities. It further requires FDA to establish and implement tracing, tracking, and reporting requirements for these commodities. It also requires FDA to establish and monitor Hazard Analysis and Risk Preventive Controls (HARPC), including standards related to in-transport food integrity. In other words, under the FSMA for the first time in history FDA would regulate farming (foreign and domestic) by developing a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) regime (a) governing what constitutes ‘safe production and harvesting’ and (b) tracking the farm industry’s compliance with its new guidelines. FDA will then establish new HARPC guidelines and monitor compliance for all other food industries. According to FDA, this is overreacting and unnecessary.  




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