House Passes Food Safety Bill

July 30, 2009 07:00 PM Editors


The House passed food safety legislation that some livestock groups recognize as much improved from the version that was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

"The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is pleased that the bill passed today addressing our on-farm concerns,” said NPPC President Don Butler.  "We are thankful that the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA), was not included in this food safety bill.” 

PAMTA would ban from use in livestock and poultry animal health products that are used to prevent and control diseases.  

The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, H.R. 2749, would give the Food and Drug Administration the framework for a risk-based inspection system and move the agency toward a preventive approach to food safety regulation. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), would give the FDA new authorities to address food-borne-illness outbreaks and regulate processors' record keeping in hopes of more easily identifying these outbreaks. 

NPPC supports language in the bill that recognizes USDA's authority over products, facilities and farms raising animals from which meat and eggs are regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act or the Egg Products Inspection Act.  NPPC is also very supportive of the grains exemption, which helps our diversified pork producers.  Other improvements to the bill relate to traceability of food and record-keeping. The measure also takes a more targeted approach for the new authority granted to the FDA to prohibit or restrict the movement of food. 

Along with NPPC, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Sheep Industry Association sent a letter yesterday to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Agriculture thanking them for reaching compromise language to help address concerns raised about the original bill.

"While America has the safest food supply in the world, America's cattle producers are constantly looking for ways to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of our current food safety system," according to a press release from NCBA."We look forward to continuing to work with the House and Senate as the food safety debate continues, to ensure the goal of increasing food safety is achieved, without detracting from the strong processes we have in place."

The Senate still has to work out their version of the bill.

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