The House Energy and Commerce Committee is taking up food safety legislation in June, and here is a list of food safety related features found in what is being called a “discussion draft” of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, released in late May 27 by Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 – Discussion Draft
- Creates an up-to-date registry of all food facilities serving American consumers. Requires all facilities operating within the U.S. or importing food to the U.S. to register with the FDA annually.
- Requires registered facilities to pay an annual registration fee of $1,000 in order to generate revenue for food safety activities at the FDA.
- Requires registered facilities to pay for FDA’s costs associated with reinspections and food recalls; allows FDA to charge a fee to domestic firms requesting export certificates for exported food.
- Requires all facilities operating within the U.S. or importing food to the U.S. to implement safety plans that identify and protect against food hazards.
- Requires safety plans for fresh produce: Directs FDA to issue regulations for ensuring the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.
- High-risk facilities would be inspected at least once every six to 18 months; low risk facilities would be inspected at least once every 18 months to three years; and warehouses that store food would be inspected at least once every three to four years.
- FDA would be required to issue regulations that require food paper or electronic traceability. FDA would be required to conduct a feasibility study, public meetings and a pilot project.
- Requires imported food to meet U.S. food safety standards. certified by the government of the product origin or a qualified third party.
- Requires FDA to establish a program to recognize laboratory accreditation bodies and to accept test results only from duly accredited laboratories. Gives FDA the ability to require laboratories to send test results to FDA.
- Strengthens criminal penalties and establishes civil monetary penalties that FDA may impose on food facilities that fail to comply with safety requirements.
- Permits FDA to develop voluntary security guidelines for imported foods. Importers meeting the guidelines would receive expedited processing.
- Enhances FDA’s ability to assure the safety of new infant formulas before they go on the market.
- Directs the Secretary to include food in an active surveillance system to assess more accurately the frequency and sources of human illness. The Secretary is also directed to identify industry and regulatory approaches to minimize hazards in the food supply.
- Strengthens FDA’s authority to administratively detain unsafe food products. Grants FDA “quarantine” authority under which the agency may restrict or prohibit the movement of unsafe food products from a particular geographic area.
- Requires FDA to conduct a safety review of the use of carbon monoxide in meat, poultry and seafood products.
- Requires posting on FDA’s website of documentation submitted to FDA in support of a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) notification.
- Requires all processed food labels to indicate the country in which final processing occurred. Requires food manufacturers to identify the country of origin for all ingredients on their Web sites. Requires country-of-origin labeling for all produce.