Today the Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which contains a number of provisions that will protect consumers, as well as small food producers and processors. Other key provision in the bill include:
- Providing the Food and Drug Administration mandatory recall authority for the first time;
- Establishing science-based minimum safety standards for fruit and vegetable production;
- Requiring that imported food meet the same safety standards as food produced in the United States and increasing the frequency of foreign inspections;
- Basing inspection frequency of FDA inspected food processing facilities on the risk of the product being produced; and
- Requiring food processors to identify where food contamination may occur in the production process and requiring them to take steps to prevent contamination.
As Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser noted in yesterday’s New York Times, “This legislation is by no means perfect. But it promises to achieve several important food safety objectives, greatly benefiting consumers without harming small farmers or local food producers.”
It’s one step toward improving the American food system, which, for years has been overseen by two agencies–the USDA and the FDA–with overlapping responsibilities, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The next step is a vote in the House. Stay tuned!