An amendment to the Senate’s 2009 budget resolution, which passed Friday, has implications for food safety. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and teamed up with Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to create a "reserve fund" to allow for legislation that enhances the protection and safety of the nation’s food supply. Durbin said, "We have to do better. Our food safety system needs more resources, and the creation of this fund will make those resources available."

Their statement noted the reserve fund would allow for congressional legislation that, among other purposes, would:

  • Expand both the Food & Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture food inspection field forces;
  • Develop risk-based approaches to the inspection of the food supply;
  • Develop the necessary infrastructure, including information technology systems, to ensure a coordinated approach to enhancing the protection and safety of the food supply;
  • Improve scientific capacity by establishing science-based training programs and investing in improved surveillance and testing technologies;
  • Enhance FDA’s recall authority, and
  • Expand foodborne illness awareness and education programs.
  • Bix

    Oh man. Oh. I could say a million things! First, great news. How could it not be? A “reserve fund”. Shining.
    Ok, so, why does the FDA get considered for recall authority and not the USDA? (How can you “enhance” something that isn’t there?) And why do we need to consider recall authority separately for each agency involved in food safety? Doesn’t that seem redundant and wasteful?
    And, I’m thinking we already have a risk-based approach to the inspection of the food supply. It’s called HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).
    Why do we need to set aside more money to develop and implement another system? Is the “internationally recognized” HACCP not working?
    I apologize for being cynical. That first point about expanding field forces – that’s a very welcome bit of news.