Senate Dems call for full funding for food safety rules

Democrats are calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund Food and Drug Administration food safety rules authorized by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The push comes about a week after Blue Bell Creameries, best known for its ice cream, recalled all of its products for fear of possible listeria bacteria contamination. 

“The Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted to bring our nation’s food safety system into the 21st century by enabling our agencies to prevent food contamination rather than reacting once illnesses have occurred,” six senators wrote to the panel's chairman, vice chairman and ranking members on Thursday. “Prevention is key given that food borne pathogens cause an estimated 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths annually.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenWinners and losers from first fundraising quarter Election analyst says Gillibrand doesn't have 'horsepower to go the full distance' Gillibrand campaign links low fundraising to Al Franken backlash: memo MORE (D-Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand pledges not to use 'stolen hacked' materials in 2020 campaign 2020 Dems rebuke Trump on Iran, say they'd put US back in nuclear deal Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment MORE (D-N.Y.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharStudent slams Klobuchar for trying to classify pizza sauce as vegetable Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' The Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics MORE (D-Minn.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) signed the letter.

The FSMA’s preventive controls rule, which was specifically designed to reduce the impact of food-borne pathogens, would require food manufacturers to identify and implement measures, like increased factory testing, to help catch pathogens like listeria before they enter the supply chain. But the rule has yet to be finalized.

The FDA is expected to begin finalizing the FSMA rules this summer. Funding determines how quickly the rules can be put into effect. The Democratic lawmakers are pushing for the committee to approve the president’s requested increase of $109.5 million.