Food Safety Under Consideration In Lame Duck Congress

November 30 Update: Food Safety Bill Approved By U.S. Senate.

Congress is back from a break and working to enact lame-duck legislation. Some of the items on the list include the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

The bill would increase the FDA's regulatory authority over the food production system in order to prevent contamination and food-borne illness outbreaks. It would give the FDA mandatory recall authority, require food producers to have qualifying plans in place for identifying and addressing safety risks, and requires importers to verify the safety of all imported foods.

The impact to agriculture will vary. Those with smaller operations will be burdened with additional regulatory compliance, namely record keeping and increased inspections.


Consumer advocacy groups have heralded the changes as a much-needed transition to proactively head-off food-borne illnesses, which are estimated to contribute to 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States every year.