Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009

In response to a question about my most recent post, "What is a farm?" -- I looked for more information on the food safety legislation now before the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The committee's official report:
The Committee on Energy and Commerce held a markup to consider "H.R. 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009" on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The legislation grants the Food and Drug Administration the authorities and resources it needs to better oversee the safety of the nation's food supply. The legislation also increases industry's responsibility for overseeing the safety of their own products and provides FDA with new and enhanced tools to hold them accountable when they fail.
Besides the article I cited yesterday, there have been other responses to the inadequacy of this bill to accomplish the protection of the food supply by added regulatory provisions (I count around 37 provisions in the text of the bill, which is VERY long). For example, an L.A.Times editorial -- "The proposed Food Safety Enhancement Act is missing some ingredients" -- calls the legislation "weakened by deal-making. Instead of phasing in a system that would track the origins of ingredients in processed foods, the measure now orders the FDA to study the issue." In particular, the editorial states: "Congress should restore the tracking provision to a bill that otherwise contains many of the elements for meaningful reform."

The committee has recommended it be considered by the House as a whole. It's not clear how soon it might actually be discussed or pass, and whether the interests of big agriculture will take away the things we need, and allow big agriculture to once again thwart the wishes of consumers to be able to obtain small-scale production from small farmers.

1 comment:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Well, thanks for clarifying. Thank goodness it hasn't come up for vote, yet! I'll certainly be contacting Congress reps.