A new bipartisan bill focuses on four key areas including: food-borne illness prevention; food-borne illness detection and response; food defense capabilities; and resource availability.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) today introduced the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which, if passed, would result in major reforms to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require all facilities to have in place preventive plans to address identified hazards and prevent adulteration, and give FDA access to these plans and relevant documentation;
  • Expand FDA access to records;
  • Allow FDA to recognize laboratory accreditation bodies to help ensure U.S. food testing labs meet high quality standards and require results from food testing performed by these labs to be reported to FDA;
  • Require importers to verify the safety of foreign suppliers and imported food, provide that FDA require certification for high-risk foods, and deny entry to a food that lacks certification or that is from a foreign facility that has refused U.S. inspectors;
  • Increase FDA inspections at all food facilities, providing for annual inspections of high-risk facilities and inspections of other facilities at least once every four years;
  • Enhance food-borne illness surveillance systems to improve the collection, analysis, reporting and usefulness of data on food-borne illnesses;
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a pilot project to test and evaluate new methods for rapidly and effectively tracking/tracing fruits and vegetables in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak;.
  • Give FDA the authority to mandate recall of a food product if a company fails to voluntarily recall product upon FDA’s request.

To read the entire article, view the Bill's language or read related stories, link to American Meat Institute.