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Friday, September 21, 2007 

Legislation for National Food Safety Framework

There ARE SOME members of Congress working on serious issues that affect us all...
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today introduced legislation to establish an effective national food safety framework for all fresh produce. The bill comes one year after a large-scale outbreak of food-borne illness caused by a virulent strain of E. coli in fresh bagged spinach sickened more than 200 people and killed three. Since then, U.S. consumers have been bombarded with repeated cases of contaminated food – everything from peanut butter to seafood to pet food. Just this week, there was a recall of a Dole bagged salad product because of E. coli contamination.

“It seems these fresh-produce recalls have become the rule rather than the exception in the United States – and that is unacceptable,” said Harkin. “It is increasingly clear that the Food and Drug Administration lacks the resources – and the authority – to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply. The American people need to have confidence that their fruits and vegetables are produced and handled in a safe and wholesome manner.”

The current produce oversight system is a patchwork of state and federal regulations. For example, California and Florida have different mechanisms for certifying the safety of leafy greens and tomatoes, respectively. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has its own mechanisms to ensure the safety of produce; however, an Associated Press report last week noted that establishments that grow and process leafy green produce are inspected only once every 3.9 years.

...the bill would also require rulemaking to ensure that imported produce has been grown and processed with the same standards that we will have in the u.s.- Tom Harkin's website
Inspected every 3.9 years? I agree with the Senator...THAT'S gotta change. And, I whole heartedly agree with the Senator on the same standards for imports. Next step, Country of Origin Labels (COOL) on everything.

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