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Friday, July 31, 2009 

The House passes a Food Safety Act

It's not as strong as perhaps many would like, but it is further along than the 1940's style inspection process that the United States currently uses. Some statistics to keep in mind, especially those without health insurance, approximately every 2 hours a U.S. resident dies from a food-related illness. Every year, nearly 1-in-3 Americans becomes seriously ill from food they thought was safe to eat, and about 325,000 wind up in the hospital.

Some things that this House approved Bill provides for...
  • Increases the frequency of inspections of food facilities, and calls for more frequent inspections to at least annually for high-risk facilities and at least once every three years for facilities deemed a low risk.. (Currently a facility is "generally" inspected every 10 years.)
  • Requires those importing food to the United States to meet the same safety standards as domestic food producers.
  • Gives the FDA the authority to order a mandatory recall of contaminated food (currently, recalls are VOLUNTARY and the FDA has to ask the facility to initiate).
  • Requires that food processors-with certain exemptions, such as farms-annually register with the FDA and pay a $500 registration fee to help offset the inspection costs.
  • Requires that facilities report testing results to FDA whenever they test food for contamination or adulteration. (This addresses the fiasco of the Peanut Corporation of America recall. They were ignoring positive salmonella tests until it received a negative result from a different lab.
Now...let's see what the Senate does, but according to Senator Tom Harkin, they might not get to it for awhile.

But call your elected officials and tell them it is time to modernize our food inspection programs. Our very health depends upon it.

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