The House today passed food safety legislation that the National Pork Producers Council recognizes as much improved from the version that was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The vote was 283 yea, 142 nay.
“NPPC is pleased that the bill passed today addressing our on-farm concerns,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “We are thankful that the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA), was not included in this food safety bill.”
PAMTA would ban from use in livestock and poultry animal health products that are used to prevent and control diseases. “America’s pork producers support strengthening the nation’s food safety system. The House bill moves us in the right direction, but work remains,” added Butler.
The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, H.R. 2749, would give the Food and Drug Administration the framework for a risk-based inspection system and move the agency toward a preventive approach to food safety regulation. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Rep. John Dingell, (D-Mich.), would give the FDA new authorities to address food-borne-illness outbreaks and regulate processors’ record keeping in hopes of more easily identifying these outbreaks.
“NPPC is grateful to Chairman Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), Ranking Member Joe Barton, (R-Texas), and Chairman Collin Peterson, (D-Minn.), for reaching compromise language contained in the bill," said Butler. "NPPC also appreciates the help of the many Energy and Commerce and Agriculture Committee members who voiced concerns regarding the impacts that the bill would have on America’s pork producers.”
NPPC supports language in the bill that recognizes the USDA's authorities over products, facilities and farms raising animals from which meat and eggs are regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act or the Egg Products Inspection Act. NPPC is also very supportive of the grains exemption which helps our diversified pork producers.
Other improvements to the bill relate to traceability of food and record-keeping. The measure also takes a more targeted approach for the new authority granted to the FDA to prohibit or restrict the movement of food. NPPC appreciates the strengthening of language that requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with the Secretary of Agriculture.
While pork producers continue to suffer record losses, NPPC is committed to food safety and believes that the bill is a positive first step toward securing effective and meaningful food safety reform legislation.