Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Grain, Livestock Farmers Concerned With Proposed Food Safety Bill

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, July 17, 2009 11:34 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Food and Drug Administration, Food Safety Bill, Food Safety, Protecting Your Family, Food-Borne Disease

LEARN MORE

IMAGE SOURCE: FDA Web site

Livestock and grain farmers are concerned about proposed legislation to overhaul the nation’s food-safety system and don’t want the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspecting farms.

Currently, the FDA regulates 80 percent of the food supply, ensuring the safety of domestic and imported foods except for meat and poultry. While the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the USDA, is responsible for the other 20 percent, inspecting cattle, goats, sheep and swine – before and after slaughter. Both agencies share egg safety.

The food-safety legislation would, among other things expand FDA access to food company records and tests, give the agency power to order mandatory food recalls and increase funding.

But grain and livestock farmers rebuffed lawmakers and regulators at the House Agriculture Committee hearing on Thursday, saying the legislation is unclear.

“Live animals are not ‘food’ until the point of processing. The bill needs to clarify that the FDA does not have the regulatory power on our farms, feedlots and ranches,” said Sam Ives, a veterinarian speaking on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Two powerful lawmakers are at odds over the food-safety bill: Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) and Rep. John Dingell (D. Mich.), a main supporter of the bill. They plan to meet again with Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) to seek further clarification.

If Peterson’s committee gives the bill an adverse report, that will have an impact on when – or if – it is brought up for floor action.

On complicated measures, such as this one, the bill gets reviewed and changed by several committees with jurisdiction over all or a portion of the legislation. The first version of the food safety bill (HR2749) was approved June 17.

Discord over legislation to address gaps in the nation’s food-safety system shows farmers’ worries about new regulatory requirements by the agency. The FDA has been under fire for a string of foodborne-illnesses revolving around hot peppers, peanut butter and spinach.

The USDA hasn’t received nearly as much criticism despite recent beef recalls. The agency operates under different laws and is better funded than that of the FDA. Generally, its inspection rules are considered more rigorous than that of the FDA.

Officials from both agencies tried easing farmers’ concerns at Thursday’s hearing saying the legislation won’t change their jurisdictions.

“Both agencies have seen ‘unprecedented cooperation’ through the White House’s cabinet-level panel on food safety,” said Mr. Jerold Mande, deputy undersecretary for food safety at the USDA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 5,000 people in the United States die each year because of food-borne disease. #


No Comments

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address

Subscribe

RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes