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Draft Kennedy Food Safety Bill

Senator Ted Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), has circulated a draft food safety title of legislation on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which includes four broad categories: Preventing Food-borne Illness, Intervention, Response to Unsafe Foods and Enhancing Capacity.

Similar to the Dingell draft legislation, the Kennedy draft would also require any facility required to register their facility with the FDA to conduct a hazard analysis to identify intentional and unintentional hazards reasonably likely to occur for foods the facility makes and develop and implement risk-based preventive controls to prevent, eliminate or reduce them. 

The draft bill would also give the FDA the authority to establish performance standards for addressing hazards. 

The FDA-registered facilities would be inspected every two years and the FDA would be required to provide a report on the food facility inspections carried out. Facilities would apply voluntarily for certification, with certifications lasting one year, a term which could, under certain circumstances, be extended to two or three years for some facilities. 

The proposal would require an importer to have a program to verify that its foreign supplier meets the FDA standards, including standards for hazard analysis and preventive controls and fresh produce standards. The requirement applies one year after enactment, two years after enactment for businesses with revenues below $5 million and three years after enactment for firms with revenues below $1 million. 

The proposal would have a new section to allow FDA to require from the competent authority of an exporting country a certification that the FDA food safety standards are met before a shipment of a food from that country can be imported to the United States. Other countries currently require food imported from the United States to have an FDA certificate and this proposal gives the FDA reciprocal authority. 

The FDA would also be authorized to recall any food that may cause serious illness or death. The FDA would then request a company to either cease distribution and sale of the food or recall the food before it can order the company to recall it. 

Click here to download (doc 47 KB) the summary of the draft legislation. (Source: FEMA)

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