Bill expands FDA’s food safety authority

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved by voice vote the Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749), legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broader regulatory and enforcement authority to keep the nation’s domestic and imported food supply safe.

To help pay for the agency’s expanded powers and programs, the bill would impose a $500 annual registration fee on domestic and importers’ food facilities, not to exceed $175,000 per company. The bill would also authorize FDA to collect other fees, including funds to cover the cost of administering a food and feed export certificate program.

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the food safety legislation “fundamentally changes” the way the federal government and industry protect the food supply, giving the government and food manufacturers “shared responsibility” for food safety.

The bill would require food safety performance standards for industry, establish a food traceability system, require food facilities to be inspected on defined schedules, and provide new authority to ensure imported food safety.

Producers and farm owners would also, under certain circumstances, be required to report to FDA when there is a reasonable probability that a food article will cause serious health consequences or death to humans or animals.

TAGS: Legislative
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