“Food producers must be obligated to produce food that is free of pathogens. It is the responsibility of the food producer, not the consumer, to make sure our food is safe to eat,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as she introduced a bill (S. 2819) last week that would prohibit the sale of any food not certified to be pathogen-free.

Among other things, the legislation would:

  • Amend the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of any processed poultry, meat and FDA-regulated food that hasn’t undergone a pathogen-reduction treatment or been certified to contain no verifiable traces of pathogens.
  • Require labels on ground beef, or any other ground-meat product, to specifically name every cut of meat contained in the product.
  • Do away with loopholes in current laws that allow producers to add coloring, synthetic flavorings and spices to their products without informing the consumer.
According to Feinstein’s press statement, “By enacting these simple changes, the Processed Food Safety Act will drastically reduce the presence of pathogens in our food and improve the ability of the consumer to make informed choices about the products they wish to eat.”

Feel free to question the oversimplification, the circular logic, the apparent lack of scientific knowledge, the implications that consumers need not be responsible for anything as long as someone else can be blamed, etc. It’s a glaring reminder of what agricultural producers are up against and why pro-agriculture advocacy is a necessity.