Too Many Loopholes In Senate Version Of Food Safety Modernization Act

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) by a vote of 73 to 25. S. 510 will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration. Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy made the following statement after the vote:

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“We are disappointed that the Senate continues to ignore the egregious loopholes allowed in this legislation that will erode consumer confidence in our nation’s food safety system. Now, when going to a supermarket, restaurant, farmers market or roadside stand, consumers will be faced with the question of whether the fruits and vegetables offered for sale adhere to basic food safety standards or not. Unfortunately, instead of adhering to a science- and risk-based approach that was consistently the foundation of the underlying bill, the Senate has chosen to include a provision that will exempt certain segments of the food industry based on the size of operation, geographic location, and customer base. This provision creates a gaping hole in the ability of consumers to trust the safety of all foods in the commercial marketplace.

“As S. 510 moves to the House of Representatives, we strongly encourage the House leadership to request a conference to reconcile differences between the House-passed food safety legislation and the flawed Senate bill. The House bill makes no arbitrary exemptions from basic food safety standards. This principle is at risk of being discarded for temporary convenience to pass a bill, but it is a fundamental mistake that will come back to haunt consumers, the food industry, and even those producers who think they are escaping from food safety requirements.

“The House should give due diligence to conference these bills, not accept a flawed agreement that flies in the face of sound science.”

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I believe that size is valid in risk assessment, after all the potential to cause harm increases with the number of exposures. So someone selling tons of product across several states, to several buyers has a greater chance of causing several people to become ill, than someone selling to 5 people in one location. Food safety is not size nuetral when you consider the possible number of people who could become sick.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Imagine if small restaurants were exempted from following Health Department rules? Anyone who produces our food can cause harm. Thousands of small farms with no responsibility for sanitation can add up to major problems on a large scale.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Of course size matters! Incubation of pathogens and inoculation of thousands of packages of food is the product of large scale food processing. My small farm does not have machines where food scraps can fester for days. I don’t have coolers were gunk in the corners can end up on a million peoples carrots. I don’t have 1000’s of workers, 50 of whom may be sick on any given day and infect an entire batch, and if any of my customers does get sick, they can walk up to me and tell me! To force me to do the same testing, tracking and processing as a million dollar packer would be ridiculous.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I believe that size is valid in risk assessment, after all the potential to cause harm increases with the number of exposures. So someone selling tons of product across several states, to several buyers has a greater chance of causing several people to become ill, than someone selling to 5 people in one location. Food safety is not size nuetral when you consider the possible number of people who could become sick.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Imagine if small restaurants were exempted from following Health Department rules? Anyone who produces our food can cause harm. Thousands of small farms with no responsibility for sanitation can add up to major problems on a large scale.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Of course size matters! Incubation of pathogens and inoculation of thousands of packages of food is the product of large scale food processing. My small farm does not have machines where food scraps can fester for days. I don’t have coolers were gunk in the corners can end up on a million peoples carrots. I don’t have 1000’s of workers, 50 of whom may be sick on any given day and infect an entire batch, and if any of my customers does get sick, they can walk up to me and tell me! To force me to do the same testing, tracking and processing as a million dollar packer would be ridiculous.