Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Policy Point Wednesday - The New Food Safety Law just posted an excellent overview of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was just passed over the holidays.  This law will give the FDA broader jurisdiction over food safety issues, including the power to demand a recall (currently, this power is limited to baby formula - all other recalls are voluntary on the part of the manufacturers and distributors.)  It also provides for more inspections of foods,depending on the available resources of the FDA to provide inspectors.

However, there are some important limits on this law - the most important being that the roles of the FDA and USDA remain the same.  This means that meat, eggs, poultry and dairy - which have been implicated in food borne illness in the recent past - are not subject to mandatory recalls.

While this law is far from perfect - and, as is typical of recent legislation, it mandates change without providing for funding - it is, at least, an important step forward.  The biggest change this legislation offers is one of philosophy: it "puts prevention up front for FDA. For the first time, FDA will have a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, science-based preventive controls across the food supply. Under the Act, implementation of mandatory preventive controls for food facilities and compliance with mandatory produce safety standards will be required."

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