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Detailed Concerns with S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010

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Live Link:  Senator Coburn

Sep 15 2010

Growing an Already Disjointed and Duplicative Federal Government 

In 2008, GAO testified before a House subcommittee that “FDA is one of 15 agencies that collectively administer at least 30 laws related to food safety. This fragmentation is the key reason GAO added the federal oversight of food safety to its High-Risk Series in January 2007 and called for a government wide reexamination of the food safety system. We have reported on problems with this system—including inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources.”

Specifically, GAO found that in 2003, FDA and USDA activities included overlapping and duplicative inspections of 1,451 domestic food-processing facilities that produce foods regulated by both agencies. This GAO testimony came on the heels of a 2005 GAO report that identified significant overlap in food safety activities conducted by USDA and the FDA, and to some extent the EPA and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), including “71 interagency agreements [to coordinate overlapping activities] that the agencies entered into… However, the agencies have weak mechanisms for tracking these agreements that…lead to ineffective implementation.” 

This overlap was evident in the egg salmonella scare. The Wall Street Journal reported (USDA Graders Saw Bugs and Trash at Egg Producer; Didn’t Tell FDA) that U.S. Department of Agriculture experts knew about sanitary problems at one of the two Iowa farms at the center of a massive nationwide egg recall, but did not notify health authorities.) USDA inspects farms and gives eggs their “Grade A” label, while the FDA technically is tasked with the safety of the final egg product.

This discrepancy was the impetus behind an egg safety rule originally promulgated 10 years ago by the FDA. Unfortunately, three administrations sat on the proposed rule without finalizing and implementing it. FDA Commissioner Dr. Hamburg stated, “We believe that had these rules been in place at an earlier time, it would have very likely enabled us to identify the problems on this farm before this kind of outbreak occurred.” A lack of regulatory bill isn’t the problem.

Charging the Bill to our Children and Grandchildren  More

Reid temporarily shelves s.510 and blames Coburn

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UPDATE!!

It has come to our attention that REID has decided not to shelve S.510, and instead will attempt to invoke cloture to ram the bill through.  Reid, on the hook to many corporate food producers who have helped  finance him, owes a lot of people……and none of them are you! 

If this bill gets shoved through, Nevada needs to take immediate action to remove this man from office; don’t wait for the election.  Marti

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by:  Steve Tetreault

The momentum has stalled in the U.S. Senate behind a food safety bill that was fueled by the recall of more than half a million tainted eggs over the summer.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this morning he is shelving the legislation at least temporarily, and blamed Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for the impasse.  

 Coburn had served notice he would block the bill on the grounds it is not offset by cuts elsewhere, and so would increase the federal budget deficit. 

“If this was a priority for the majority, they would have already paid for it,” Coburn’s spokesman John Hart told Politico. Coburn says the legislation will cost more than $1.6 billion over five years.

The Oklahoma Republican on his website detailed other problems he sees with the legislation.

Reid, the Senate majority leader, said earlier this week he thought the bill was close to being ready and could pass quickly. He backtracked this morning.

“We thought we finally had it worked out, we could come and take care of this,” Reid said in a Senate speech. “But Senator Coburn has said no. We’ve spent a whole Congress on this and of course at the last minute he comes in and likely we will not be able to get this done before we go home for the elections.

“What a sad thing for our country. People are dying as a result of these problems with food. It is just a shame we can’t get this done.”

Food safety advocates have lobbied Congress actively through the year, flying in victims of severe food poisoning, and the family members of those who died from eating tainted food.

Reid said he met with a dozen Nevadans who have eaten foods that made them sick.   One of them was Rylee Gustafson of Henderson, who was hospitalized as a 9-year-old in 2006 after eating contaminated spinach.

Pressure for reform mounted over the summer after more than 550 million eggs were recalled following a salmonella outbreak.

The pending bill would strengthen the police powers of the Food and Drug Administration to mandate recalls, enables it to hire more inspectors and requires more frequent inspections of food plants. It also requires food makers and processors to have control plans in place that address known problems.

The US Congress: “misbranded and adulterated”

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Marti Oakley (c)copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

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                                                     S.3767 (or is it S.3669? Has the number changed   yet again?)

In reading this “companion bill” to S.510, one has to wonder: 

Isn’t this Rosa Delauro’s HR 875 come to life?  Fines imprisonment and all?

Does this mean the FDA is actually going to force the labeling of genetically modified contaminated foods? 

Would not the inclusion of substantially altered food products, alterations which were so diverse a patent was issued on them…..wouldn’t these qualify as misbranded and adulterated if the label does not specify what genetic alterations had been made and how much of the product on the shelf was made up of unnatural food-like creations?

Would the selling of cloned meats also qualify for misbranded and adulterated if the label does not state the product is the result of cloning? That the meat does not come from natural processes?

Will labels on meat and dairy products now state that they contain the residuals from antibiotics, vaccines and hormones? What about the labels on grain products?  Will the labels now list the level of residual herbicides and pesticides present in the finished food-like product?

Will labels now include the information that eating genetically altered food could harm your health and that independent studies have shown damage to internal organs, fertility and DNA may result from consuming genetically altered food-like products?

Will gene slicing between plants and animals now be indicated on labels?  Will we know, for example, if the strawberry’s that look so appetizing are really just strawberry’s, or, are they a combination of strawberry and swine? Will the label now read “Pigberry’s”?  I’d like to know! More

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