September 22, 2018

Safe Food Act of 2015 Introduced to Congress

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Safe Food Act of 2015 to Congress today. The legislation would consolidate federal food safety activities into one independent agency called the Food Safety Administration. Durbin and DeLauro have introduced this legislation in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007.

CongressCurrently, oversight of the nation’s food supply is split up among 15 different agencies. The Act states that since the safety of the food supply is vital to the public health and the economy, and lapses in the protection of food supply damage consumers and the industry, the safety and security of the food supply requires an integrated, systemwide approach to preventing foodborne illness. Sponsors of the bill hope that this consolidation would make the food safety agencies more efficient.

DeLauro said in a statement, “Government has a responsibility to keep our families safe from foodborne illness. One reason we have not been able to do so is that our food safety system is hopelessly fragmented and outdated. Consequently, lives are unnecessarily put at risk and the need for reform becomes more urgent.”

Durbin added, “the fragmented nature of our food safety system has left us more vulnerable to the risk of foodborne illness. It has too often forced citizens to go it alone in the case of outbreak. The Safe Food Act that Congresswoman DeLauro and I are introducing today would transfer and consolidate food safety authorities for inspections, enforcement, labeling, and research into a single food safety agency.”

The Act will transfer and consolidate food safety authorities into a single agency, provide authority to require the recall of unsafe food, and require risk assessments and preventive control plans to reduce adulteration. In addition, it would authorities enforcement actions to strengthen contaminant performance standards, improve foreign food inspections, and require full food traceability so outbreaks can be quickly solved.

Cosponsors in the Senate include Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Cosponsors in the House include Barbara Lee (D-CA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), James Langevin (D-RI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). We will keep you updated on the bill’s progress.

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