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

Managing Your Business
change ahead sign large

The reality is that some people don’t like change. But as long as you partner with employees, there shouldn’t be major staff fallout.

It can be tricky to find the balance between listening to your team’s point of view on the changes and avoiding giving your power away. You may accept many or few recommendations, but you need to be able to explain your decisions. Regular department meetings to complete that circle of communication take more time, but it’s more efficient than doing damage control after the fact.

I’ve seen folks refuse to do a job based on their new job...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd marketing ideas

[ View the story "Marketing and operations ideas worth stealing" on Storify ]
Industry News & Opinion

Some Washington, D.C., foodservice operators may soon be required to provide staff with paid leave, as the city council on Tuesday passed one of the most extensive paid leave plans in the nation.

Barring a veto by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the measure mandates that all private sector employers in the district offer workers eight weeks of parental time off and six weeks to care for a sick relative.

While operators will not directly compensate workers—who will be paid 90% of their wages through a government-run insurance program—they will be hit with a 0.62% increase to employer...

Industry News & Opinion

Dallas Independent School District will serve breakfast and lunch over winter break for the first time this year, Dallas News reports.

Any child under 18 will be able to participate in the meal program, which will be offered in 12 cafeterias.

The Texas district will be partially reimbursed for the meals, receiving $3.39 per lunch served and 86 cents per breakfast. The remaining costs, which include paying cafeteria staff and supervisors, will be picked up by the district.

Read the full story via dallasnews.com .

FSD Resources