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Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 Passes Committee by Voice Vote

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today passed Chairman Waxman’s and Chairman Emeritus Dingell’s “Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009” (H.R. 2749).  The overarching goal of the legislation is to increase FDA’s food safety-related authority in light of the increased focus on recalls and foodborne illnesses attributable to FDA-regulated products.

Although the majority of AMI member companies are regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), H.R. 2749 presents concerns because of the effect it would have on FDA-regulated products that are used as ingredients in some meat and poultry and because of the precedent the bill could establish with respect to the meat and poultry inspection statutes. 

AMI worked closely with members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure that the language addressing the modified atmosphere (low oxygen/CO) packaging was eliminated from the bill.  Other provisions, such as those concerning the establishment of preventive controls, mandatory country of origin labeling and traceability, also were significantly improved.  Notwithstanding some improvements, however, AMI still has concerns regarding providing FDA with mandatory recall authority, the imposition of registration fees and a reference to BPA in the legislation, among others.  Although the timing remains uncertain, the bill will next move to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.   

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