WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro want to create an independent food safety agency to improve the nation’s inspection system.
Both senators have introduced the Safe Food Act of 2019.
The Act would consolidate the FDA and USDA food safety inspections, enforcement, labeling, and research into a single entity.
The following are also part of the proposed Safe Food Act:
- Require full food trace-ability to better identify sources of outbreaks.
- Authorize enforcement actions to strengthen contaminant performance standard.
- Strengthen oversight of foreign food facilities and improve food import inspections.
According to Sen. Durbin, food safety is currently split up among 15 different federal agencies which encompass at least 30 laws.
An example in the outline of the Act states a frozen cheese pizza is regulated by the FDA, whereas a frozen pepperoni pizza is regulated by the USDA. This means two separate federal agencies and two different set of guidelines would be required to inspect a pizza production facility in the example.
Durbin believes the current food safety system is fragmented and obsolete.
“The Safe Food Act would modernize federal food safety laws to protect and improve public health, giving families peace of mind that the food in their refrigerators, pantries, and on their dining room tables won’t harm them,” said Durbin.
Foodborne illness reportedly costs the United States more than $15.6 billion each year.
Durbin and DeLauro first introduced similar legislation in 1999.
According to Durbin’s office, Safe Food Act is endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, the National Consumers League, STOP Foodborne Illness and other food safety and consumer advocacy organizations .