Senate passes federal food safety bill

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Tuesday’s Senate passage of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act is a major advance towards safeguarding the nation’s food supply, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said.

The bill must receive approval by the House of Representatives before heading to President Obama’s desk.

“Americans deserve to feel certain that the food they serve their family is safe, wholesome and nutritious,” Strain said. “This new legislation paves the way for a stronger, safer food supply through tighter regulation and control of the supply chain.

Strain said farmers and ranchers are held to a high standard of food safety in this country and everyone should expect every level of the food supply chain including imported food stuffs to be held to the same standard.

Some provisions of the bill include:

• Expanding the food recall authority of the FDA;

• Establishing science-based minimum standards for safe production and harvesting of specific types of fresh fruits and vegetables;

• Allocates additional funding for facility inspections and food imported into the United States based on their risk profiles and increases inspections of all facilities;

• Requires mandatory testing by federal laboratories or accredited nonfederal laboratories;

• Establishes stricter food safety controls on imported food.