In a major step toward an overhaul of the nation’s food safety system, the House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday to require more frequent inspections of processing plants and give the government the authority to order the recall of tainted foods.
“No legislation like this has moved forward this far in decades to overhaul the food safety laws,” said Erik D. Olson, director of food and consumer product safety issues at the Pew Charitable Trusts. “It’s a pretty historic moment.”
House passage sets the stage for the Senate to take up the issue, though probably not until the fall. The Obama administration has voiced strong support for a comprehensive food safety revamping.
The bill passed the House on a vote of 283 to 142. Democratic support was overwhelming, but Republicans were split, with 54 voting in favor and 122 against…
The measure would also give the agency the power to order recalls of tainted food. Under its current authority, it can only ask companies to recall their food products.
Among the bill’s other provisions are heightened inspection requirements on imported foods, a mandate that records of processing plants be made available to inspectors and investigators, and a requirement that processing plants develop elaborate safety plans meant to head off problems before they arise.
In addition, the bill would direct the F.D.A. to create a system that would better trace food products and ingredients, as a way of quickly getting to the source of future outbreaks of food-borne illness.
Food-borne illness, sickness and disease resulting from contaminated food is one of those topics that gets a response from our readers every time we post on the topic. Americans are sick and tired of being told that we have the best food-production and distribution system in the world – which is true BTW – but, there’s “just been some little slip-up” that’s causing a problem.
Just about every bad food story we’ve covered in recent years has carelessness and cover-ups rooted in maximizing profit. When the latter becomes more important than the health of consumers, families – and attempts to remedy the situation are opposed by politicians in the name of whatever they choose as window-dressing – the smell is still one of corruption.