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Senate Passes Food Safety Legislation

The U.S. Senate has passed the Food Safety Modernization Act. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation in July 2009 and the two bills must now be reconciled, although Senator Tom Harkin, a chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate, has said he had an informal agreement with House leaders that they would approve the Senate version unchanged, and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature before Christmas.
 
This extensive new legislation, in part, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to inspect records related to food, including to: (1) allow the inspection of records of food that the Secretary reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner as an adulterated food; and (2) require that each person (excluding farms and restaurants) that manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports an article of food permit inspection of records if the government believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to such food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
 
Additionally, the bill authorizes HHS to suspend the registration of a food facility if the food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.
 
Likewise, the bill prohibits the operation of a facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for sale in the United States if the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such facility is not in compliance with the new law and regulations.
 
“The FPSA membership is committed to continued advancement of food processing and packaging equipment to help ensure the safe production of the country’s food supply,” said David Seckman, president & CEO of the Food Processing Suppliers Association. 

For more information, visit www.fpsa.org.

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