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Food safety bill passed; no antibiotics addition

The US House of Representatives has passed the food safety legislation without including new rules for the use of antibiotics in livestock.

The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the framework for a risk-based inspection system and move the agency toward a preventive approach to food safety regulation. The bill 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.


Including the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA) would ban from use in livestock and poultry animal health products that are used to prevent and control diseases – much like legislation which has been existing in the European Union since January 1, 2006.


NPPC

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), however, recognises the passed version in the House as much improved from the version that was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


"NPPC is pleased that the bill passed today addressing our on-farm concerns," said NPPC president Don Butler. "We are thankful that the PAMTA, was not included in this food safety bill."


"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.


"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."


Support of language

NPPC supports language in the bill that recognises the US Department of Agriculture'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.


NPPC says in its press release that "it is committed to food safety and believes that the bill is a positive first step toward securing effective and meaningful food safety reform legislation."


Related news item:

No antibiotics amendment: US pig industry (27 July 2009)


Related websites:

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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