|Purred: Mon May 7, '07 12:35pm PST |
|The HSUS has put up a page that makes it easy to contact and encourage your congressperson to support the DeLauro/Durbin Pet and Human Food Safety Act (H.R. 2108/S. 1274) HERE.
Durbin, DeLauro Introduce New Food Safety Bill in Wake of Widening Recalls
Some of the new responsibilities given to the FDA under Durbin and DeLauro's new legislation include:
# Providing the FDA the authority for mandatory recalls of contaminated or dangerous food. The FDA currently has no authority to order food recalls, but must rely on the industry to voluntarily pull products from store shelves.
# Establishing an early warning and notification system for human food as well as pet food products. The legislation directs the FDA to work with professional organizations, veterinarians, and others to disseminate information about pet food contamination and in cases of both pet and human food, to keep up to date, comprehensive, searchable recall lists on their website.
# Establishing uniform federal standards and better labeling of pet food. The guidances and practices that today govern the pet food industry are implemented on a voluntary basis by manufacturers and state departments of agriculture. However, there is no requirement for states to adopt these practices and they don't have the force of federal guidelines. Inspections are not coordinated state to state and some states have different standards than others.
# Improving FDA's ability to regulate imported food products. The sources of the recent human and pet food contamination were wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that originated in China. Neither shipment was inspected by FDA; in fact, FDA inspects fewer than 1.5% of imports. FDA does not currently certify that trading partners have food safety standards that are at least equivalent to those of the United States. This bill would direct FDA to establish a certification program with trading partners interested in exporting food products to the United States. Foreign food safety systems and plants would be inspected by FDA prior to certification and the Secretary would have the authority to revoke certifications and deny importation of food if it presented a public health risk.
# Requiring companies to maintain records and make them accessible to FDA as part of an investigation. This provision would prevent delays that could keep contaminations from being traced as quickly as possible. In the case of the recalled peanut butter this past winter, an FDA report showed that inspectors were denied documents when they requested them. The bill would clarify that when FDA conducts inspections, it will have access to those documents needed for purposes of safeguarding the food supply.
Read more: http://durbin.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=273386
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