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President Commends House over Food Safety Bill

by 5m Editor
31 July 2009, at 11:04am

US - The House has passed the Food Safety Bill, which is aimed at cutting food-borne illness.

President Barack Obama says a food safety bill passed by the House will be a "major step forward."

He said it will help modernise the nation's food safety system and protect consumers from illnesses caused by food, according to Associated Press. The bill passed yesterday (30 July) would require more government inspections and oversight of food manufacturers.

It also would give the Food and Drug Administration new authority to order recalls of contaminated foods, and require the agency to develop a system to better trace illnesses caused by that tainted food. A recent outbreak of salmonella in peanuts killed at least nine people.

The Senate must act on the bill.

Details of the Food Safety Bill

Washington Post reports the key provisions of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, approved by the House on 30 July.

Inspections
Food and Drug Administration inspections of food facilities would increase from about once every 10 years to at least annually for high-risk facilities and at least once every three years for facilities deemed a low risk. FDA inspectors will have access to company records.

Registration
Food processors, importers and other food handlers must register annually with the FDA and pay a yearly fee of $500 for each food facility.

Recalls
The FDA could mandate the recall of tainted foods, instead of relying on food makers to pull items voluntarily.

Safe practices
For the first time, the FDA could set standards for safe production of food on farms, as well as require food manufacturers to meet safety standards.

Imports
Those importing food to the United States must meet the same safety standards as domestic food producers.

Traceability The secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to identify technology that can be used by food growers, manufacturers and distributors to determine the origin of food and its movement in the supply chain.