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I received this info via email from a local Rescue group today. Just an FYI.


Senate Passes Food Safety Amendment

With the current volatility of food safety issues in Congress, there was a surprise move in Congress this afternoon by Sen. **** Durbin (D-IL) to attach a food safety amendment to the FDA drug reauthorization bill on the Senate floor. Sen. Durbin originally wanted to introduce his Safe Food Act enacting comprehensive food safety reform, but reached a compromise with Republicans and Democrats to offer a much scaled down amendment. With minimal debate, the amendment passed the Senate 97-0. This will now be incorporated into the Senate version of the FDA bill that will eventually have to be agreed to with the House of Representatives, before possibility of becoming law.


The amendment was focused primarily on current pet food issues, but also deals specifically with produce in calling for a coordinated effort among FDA and the states in addressing produce safety. We do not believe the language creates any new legal authorities, but "encourages" and "provides support" to states from FDA in addressing produce safety. In general, United Fresh would support better federal-state cooperation, and while there is no funding attached to this, the bill could bring some resources to help tackle issues that could lead to better coordination of outbreak investigations, etc. However, it is always troubling when Congress rushes to pass any legislation without a much more thorough period to vet the issues and dissect the legal language in relation to other statutes. Although United Fresh had a minor opportunity to make improvements in the bill while it was on the Senate floor this afternoon, we will continue to assess its potential impact and seek to make any needed changes as the bill proceeds through the legislative process.


Also, the amendment creates an "Adulterated Food Registry," including a system for reporting illnesses to the FDA. If FDA determines that a food is adulterated, it is required to issue an alert to the public. We believe it is the intent of Senate authors to improve the FDA process in alerting the public about potentially dangerous products, and prevent the widespread panic caused in the spinach outbreak. But, it is unclear to us whether this language would actually do that. Again, we will be studying this legal language carefully. There is also an additional provision that if companies determine that they have manufactured or sold an adulterated food, they are required to inform their supply chain partners.
 
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