August 15, 2008
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act Signed Into Law
With very little fanfare, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, H.R. 4040, into law yesterday. [Thomas Resources | Open Congress Resources]. The legislation was Congress' response to massive consumer product recalls. A record-breaking 448 products were recalled last year - about half of them for children's products. [SPSC Product Recalls | Search Product Recalls by County of Manufacture]. Provisions include the following:
- Provides authority for State Attorneys General to uniformly enforce consumer product safety laws and act expeditiously to remove dangerous products from shelves.
- Decreases waiting periods for disclosure of consumer product information by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) when disclosure would permit the public to ascertain readily the identity of the manufacturer or private labeler. Provides for expedited court actions to release information on products to the public.
- Requires the CPSC to maintain on its website a publicly available, searchable database that includes any reports received by the CPSC of injuries, illness, death, or risk of such injury, illness, or death related to the use of consumer products other than information provided to the Commission by manufacturers, private labelers, or retailers. Allows inclusion in the database of comments by manufacturers, labelers, or retailers.
Next on the Legislative Agenda: FDA Food Safety Modernization. Three of the top four Republicans on the Senate committee that oversees the FDA — Judd Gregg (New Hampshire), Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) and Richard Burr (North Carolina) — are cosponsoring a bill that aims to do for the FDA what Congress did this year for the CPSC. The bill, S. 3385, FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, was tossed into the bill hopper on July 31, 2008 by Senator Richard Durbin (D - Illinois)[Thomas] It authorizes the FDA to set commodity-specific safety standards for produce and require importers to verify that the foods they’re bringing in were produced according to U.S. rules. The FDA also would be authorized to certify third-party inspections of both domestic and foreign food facilities and would be empowered for the first time to require recalls of tainted products. [JH]
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