A food safety bill with enormous reach is working its way through the House, raising major concerns about new Food and Drug Administration regulation of farm operations and throughout the processing chain.
The bill, H.R. 2749 or the Food Safety Enhancement Act, comes in response to a number of high-profile food safety scares over the past few years and a general sense that the U.S. food safety system is outdated.
Among other things, the legislation would:
- require FDA to set standards for safe growing, harvesting and storage of raw agricultural commodities, including on-farm regulation;
- dramatically expand FDA’s access to facility and farm records; and
- allow FDA to take action against a food product without scientific evidence of adulteration.
Passed this week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee with a manager’s amendment, the bill is set to be considered by the full Committee next Wednesday.
NAWG is working with a coalition of agricultural groups to provide constructive comment to the Committee in advance of next week’s hearing. The groups’ discussions have particularly included the need for scientific and risk-based assessments, confidentiality and indemnification for losses resulting from inappropriate FDA actions.