February 5, 2010
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) signed on to a letter with numerous other national agriculture organizations to provide recommendations that would strengthen S. 510, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act, for agricultural producers and agribusinesses.
The amendment and modification recommendations focus on the same seven issues that have been of concern since the initial work on this food safety act. They include:
- the clarification of the statutory authority between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA;
- explains the application of performance standards;
- offers provisions for mandatory recall authority while authorizing indemnification for producers and facilities economically damaged by a wrongfully issued recall;
- suspends facility registration and raises the threshold above "reasonable probability" of harm before FDA can shut down a facility;
- recognizes the differences between hazard analysis and risk-based prevention plans for unintentionally introduced hazards and intentional contamination;
- adds a section to provide confidentiality protection; and
- provides flexibility to FDA to alter the inspection frequency of non-high-risk facilities from every four years to every five years.
As it is currently written, S. 510 would increase government oversight of the food sector by expanding the FDA authority with mandatory recalls, increased inspection rates, collection of fees and require all facilities to have a food safety plan.