Food Safety Gets a Chance

by Rena Steinzor | December 23, 2010

Salmonella in eggs, peanuts, tomatoes, and spinach; and melamine in pet food and candy imported from China… With a regularity that has become downright terrifying, the food safety system in the United States has given us ample evidence that it has broken down completely. And so, in a small miracle of legislative activism, Democrats in Congress finally mustered the will and the votes to act, passing H.R. 2751 yesterday, not for the first time, but for the second time in the Senate and the third in the House. (A mistake on a technicality—Senate failure to follow an arcane procedure that allows everyone to pretend the bill it just passed originated in the House, where all tax legislation is required by the Constitution to begin its journey into law.)

Many people deserve credit for this December miracle, although my hat is especially doffed for Representatives John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) in the House and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). Dingell, the longest serving member of the House, had taken to calling the legislation “my bill” as in “where’s my damn bill?” growled with warm ferocity to his staff whenever the matter arose in his mind during the long months of waiting for the Senate to take action. 

The new law covers the 80 percent of the American diet—everything but beef and poultry—that is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The old law it replaces was ...

Waxman's Food Safety Bill Would Go a Long Way Toward Fixing Regulatory Failures

by Thomas McGarity | July 02, 2009
On Wednesday, Representative Henry Waxman introduced a comprehensive “Food Safety Enhancement Act” (116-page discussion draft) to repair part of a federal food safety protection regime that has been badly broken for several decades. Waxman was joined by Representatives Diana DeGette, John Dingell, Frank Pallone, Bart Stupak, and Betty Sutton; the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, June 3. A key problem with the current system is that it employs regulatory tools developed ...

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