Food safety law yet to grow teeth

Published in FSD Update

Implementation of the two-year-old Food Safety Modernization Act continues to be delayed.

When is a law not quite a law? Apparently when it is prickly, sensitive legislation such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama two years ago. The law was designed to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more power to act to prevent incidents of foodborne illness, but the full impact of the law has yet to be felt.

When the bill was passed it included a provision whereby interested parties would be given two years to comment to FDA on two significant parts of the law: proposed rules governing the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce, and those governing food processing facilities. The comment period is due to end Aug. 15.

But the farm bill recently passed by the House of Representatives could delay implementation of the FSMA even further. One amendment to the farm bill, introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), would require FDA to conduct more cost and scientific analyses before implementing the law.

There is no guarantee that the House version of the farm bill will ever become law. First, it must be reconciled with the farm bill being considered by the U.S. Senate. Also, the White House has threatened to veto any farm bill that doesn’t restore elements of a nutrition bill, such as the food stamp program, that were stripped from an earlier version of the legislation.

But if it were to become law with Benishek’s amendment in place, it could delay implementation of the FSMA indefinitely, since no one can predict how long the additional studies required of FDA could take.

This set me to wondering about the importance and value of new food safety regulations. I’d like to ask you, dear readers, for your take on food safety. How concerned are you about food safety, particularly in light of the strength of the local and sustainable movement in your areas? How necessary do you think the FSMA is to protecting your customers from foodborne illness? What measures not in place would you like to see the federal government take to ensure the safety of our food supply?

Please email your comments to me at pking@cspnet.com.

Keywords: 
food safety

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken dinner

For the last three years, we’ve hosted an event called Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. We sponsor the local chapter of Future Farmers of America to raise the chickens, and we have to arrange all the transporting from farms to the distributor, which keeps the birds in a freezer until we’re ready. We build hype by having students vote on the proprietary spice blend they would like on the chicken. It helps the nutrition team get involved in the educational process and showcase local food purchasing.

Menu Development
ramen bowl spoon chopsticks

Asian noodle soups are a popular lunch option at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., campus, says Trent Page, the GM at Bon Appetit Management who runs the company’s three corporate dining venues. But Page noticed an increasing preference for customizable dishes and vegan preparations among the 1,000 customers he feeds daily. Inspired by a recent visit to Japan, he introduced tsukemen to the menu—a dish that features most of the traditional ramen ingredients (noodles, eggs and vegetable garnishes) served separately so diners can mix and match. “Separating the components makes it more customizable...

Ideas and Innovation
employees generation multicultural

We are no longer short staffed, ever. On a given day, missing two team members from a team of 50 would leave us 96% staffed. The actual choice of wording places a positive emphasis on those that did come to serve our guests and patients. We no longer use the phrase “short staffed”; this is a game-changer when we are challenging ourselves as culture facilitators or leaders.

Ideas and Innovation
food symbols allergens

To make safe food as accessible as possible for our guests with allergies, we are creating an allergen-friendly kitchen this summer. Students and community members will be able to use our mobile app to place orders for allergen-friendly food and pick them up at the central kitchen. The kitchen will also produce grab-and-go options that will be distributed across campus.

FSD Resources