S. 510: Food Safety Modernization Act – the basics
November 30th, 2010
09:30 AM ET
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UPDATE: The Food Safety Modernization Act passes 73-25. Here is a list of how the Senators voted.

The US Senate is currently voting on the passage of S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, a long-stalled bill that would introduce enhanced governmental oversight of the nation's food producers' safety systems.

Some opponents to the bill assert that it imposes the same one-size-fits all set of legislation on small farmers and producers and giant food conglomerates and factory farms alike, placing a strain on those less equipped to comply with new regulations. They also fear it will raise food prices and all $1.5 billion to the deficit, and too extremely centralize and concentrate governmental control over food producers.

Supporters claim that these measures are necessary to protect the public from compromised food, such as the salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened more than 1,600 people this past August.

Key points:

– The FDA would have the authority to issue direct recalls of foods that are suspected to be tainted, rather than relying on individual producers to voluntarily issue recalls.

CNN Radio's Jim Roope speaks with FDA's Associate Commissioner for Food Protection, Dr. Jeff Farrar about the measures the FDA can currently take.

– Food producers would be required to develop written food safety plans, accessible by the government in case of emergency. These would include hazard analysis and a plan for implementing corrective measures.

– The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to create a food tracing system that would streamline the process of finding the source of contamination, should an outbreak occur.

– Importers would be required to verify the safety of all imported foods to make sure it's in accordance with U.S. food safety guidelines.

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Filed under: FDA • Food Politics • Health News • Recalls • S. 510 • Tainted Food

soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. personal training Long Island

    The Food Safety Modernization Act,Finally,a long-stalled bill that would introduce enhanced governmental oversight of the nation's
    food producers' safety systems.This is exactly what this country needs.

    January 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
  2. Vanessa

    I'm sorry "reasonable probability?" Do we send people to jail on the instance of "reasonable probability?" The answer is NO. This is giving government too much control.

    From the folowing link: http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/rightnow?ContentRecord_id=8df5cb89-91a2-4ae3-b846-7487db0bd4f0

    "Facility registration may be suspended if there is a REASONABLE PROBABILITY that food from the responsible facility will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. “Reasonable probability” isn’t a difficult enough burden for FDA to prove when the consequence is closing down a private business."

    So some small farmer trying to take care of his family can be closed down and lose their livelihood based on a "reasonable probability?"

    What happened to land of the free? We need to open our eyes and take a good look around us. We have TSA with their body scanners, Homeland Security who is giving out grants so cities and counties can buy excessive security supplies and enforcements (which helps war corporations cash in on war terror) and then bills like this that pass laws to help large food manufacturers and Monsanto profit and grow. It makes me sick to my stomach.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
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    August 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  4. tolinadea

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    March 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  5. lex

    You guys live in a messed up country. Im from Sweden and our food industry is working just fine without these extreme governmental control programs. We have health and safety laws that needs to be followed. And then the general public is well educated through school with basic knowledge of bacteria and how to clean/cook your food before use. Remember E.colli bacteria is in your arse all the time so FDA should have ass-control as well then shouldnt they?

    You americans seem to have lost your course and let government fool you. You think your country is free? You think your country is nothing like what you fear (socialisim, communism)? It is all that but with the fasade and sales people in power selling it as something else. With all the government influence and control in your country its in levels with china (even though China tends to stay home and not police the whole world with unjust wars etc).

    This food bill is another nail in the coffin for freedom, just next to the patriot act bill (that now is about to get an upgrade).

    January 19, 2011 at 4:13 am |
  6. mecha5470

    Not only does the clause allow the fda to choose if your land and food is safe, they have now put seed in the hands of homeland security, whats next? Gentically modified seed with the terminator gene was not enough, now they want control over who grows what and how much. Everyone should have the right to plant a garden on there on property. Wake up people this is getting really scary.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  7. c

    any of you sparrow brained idiots that think this is a good bill that think this goverment can get invovled in any kind of regulatory oversight, and do it right, for the benifit of all people, not their intentions, are exactly that, sparrow brained idiots. these type of people are your enemys of the near future. i dont need the becks,orielys or any other "news" blowhards to tell me how its going to be. i can do something different than most, think for myself. any time i hear thier here to help the people, i cringe. THIER HERE FOR YOUR FREE WILL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  8. Dan

    This bill will kill small farmers and any chance of anyone buying raw dairy.
    But the government knows what is best for us

    December 14, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  9. Senagain

    This bill is a problem for the same reason that the Patriot acts I and II are problems. they expand federal authority beyond what is necessary and the end result is to undermine our civil liberty and constrict our freedoms. If you want a government to rpotect your food system, then get your local government to do it. If you work too much to pay attention to or be involved in your food system then you work too much and this is a symptom of other social problems s.510 does not address. The major food outbreaks that are cited by proponents are all the result of big agrobusiness practices which are unhealthy and unethical in numerous ways and have been for decades. Legislation that would truly benefit the people would promote small farms and local food commerce. Any outbreak would be small both in its geographic range and the people effected, easily contained on a local level and and the people of the community would LEARN from it. And if you think this is going to make cheap food more available, forget it. Food isn't cheap, big companies just shift around who pays the price for it, like paying foriegn workers pocket change to live on, dumping ton after ton of poisons into the environment, etc. etc. This bill is supported exclusively by people who are too disconnected from the soil to make this kind of decision. It takes effort to eat, but it's a fundamental and rewarding part of living in the Earth system. this kind of legislation is trouble, plain and simple.

    December 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • mecha5470


      December 25, 2010 at 12:32 am |
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