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CONTACT: Food & Water Watch
Food Safety Bill a Good Start Towards Safer Food System
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
“The bill, which must now be adopted by the House or reconciled in a conference committee with the House legislation passed last year, would give the FDA mandatory recall authority and require inspection of food processing plants by FDA. The Senate version of the bill is weaker than the version passed by the House last year when it comes to standards for imported foods and frequency of FDA inspection for food processing plants.
“But the Senate bill includes important provisions that exempt very small businesses and farms that sell direct to consumers from some requirements. Specifically, the bill exempts very small businesses and farms from the food safety plan and produce safety requirements of the bill, while leaving them subject to state and local laws. The bill also creates a food safety training grant program for small farms, and instructs FDA to provide flexibility for small farms and processors to comply with new regulations.
“After years of recalls and investigations into illnesses, it’s time for FDA to update its food safety programs. This bill will start that process.
“The next big step towards a safer food system is reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The next Farm Bill should provide fair access to markets for farmers, break up food monopolies, and require meatpackers to pay farmers a fair price for their livestock so they can maintain their operations without turning them into factory farms. Factory farms increase the risk of pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella that cause foodborne illness in people. As we learned from the egg recall this past summer, bad practices on even a few factory farms can end up on everyone’s plate.”
For more information on factory farms, visit www.factoryfarmmap.org.