Food safety groups blast farm bill amendments

A measure penned by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) would effectively derail major portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act from taking effect until further scientific and economic analysis has been conducted.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed the regulations in January to implement the 2010 law, which represents the largest U.S. food safety overhaul in decades.

Sandy Eskin, director of food safety for the Pew Charitable Trusts said more studies are unnecessary and would be duplicative.

“Our view is that type of analysis, and many others, have been done by FDA,” she said.

Delays in the implementation of the regulations would put public safety at risk, Eskin said.

The groups also oppose a provision, authored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), meant to stop states from adopting overly restrictive regulations on food produced in other states.

“The amendment could result in the state with the weakest record for ensuring that food is produced safely setting standards for the citizens of the 49 other states,” the food safety groups contend.

Groups opposing the two provisions include Pew, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention (CFI), the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the National Consumers League (NCL), the American Public Health Association (APHA)
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Consumers Union (CU) and STOP Foodborne Illness.

The concerns are outlines in a letter sent this week to each of 40 members of the farm bill conference committee, which is scheduled to meet for the first time next week.

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