Meat safety bill introduced by US Senator
US senator Kirster Gillibrand chairwomen of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security, last week introduced legislation aimed at reducing foodborne outbreaks on the back of a Government Accountable Office (GAO) report that criticised the evaluation of poultry pilot projects from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The GAO report highlighted problems with a USDA HACCP- based Inspection Models Project proposal to change the way poultry is inspected, so that the plants could speed up production and move towards risk-based inspections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, one in six Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year, including 128,000 who are hospitalised culminating in 300 deaths. It is estimated that the meat and poultry industries lose US$500 million annually due to recalled products.
The bill includes provisions that would
• Create mandatory pathogen reduction standards and expand USDA's authority to regulate new pathogens
• Regular international audits by the Food Safety and Inspection Service
• Whistleblower protection for government and private workers in the food industry to report public health issues.
• Improve customer notification for recall of contaminated products
• Safeguard our borders from unsafe or adulterated foreign meat and poultry products by ensuring regular international audits by the Food Safety & Inspection Service.
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