October 27, 2009
Hamburg: Need stronger food safety bill
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg addressed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this week. The full text of her testimony is available on the FDA's website.
. . .From FDA’s perspective, there are three key questions to ask about food safety legislation:
- First, does the legislation refocus the system to place greater emphasis on prevention?
- Second, does the legislation provide FDA the legal tools necessary to match its existing and new food safety responsibilities?
- Third, does the legislation provide or anticipate resources for the Agency to match its responsibilities?
I will focus on S. 510 for a discussion of these questions. I will address each of these three questions in turn and highlight a few of the many important authorities in this bill.
Does the legislation support a new food safety system focused on prevention?
The legislation would indeed transform FDA’s approach to food safety from a system that far too often responds to outbreaks rather than prevents them. It would do so by requiring and then holding companies accountable for understanding the risks to the food supply under their control and then implementing effective measures to prevent contamination. . . .
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