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IoM report reminds Congress of food safety

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Capital Hill proponents of food safety reform say an Institute of Medicine report recommending FDA use a more risk-based approach supports the need for legislation. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says IoM's June 8 1report shows "gaps still exist in our nation's food safety system." While the House has passed its bill - H.R. 2749 - Rep. John Dingell points out the Senate has yet to act on S. 510. "I don't know how many more reports need to be written ... before the Senate wakes up and realizes we have a real public health problem on our hands," the Michigan Democrat says. H.R. 2749 imposes general and targeted user fees and makes supplement firms subject to hazard analysis and critical control point-like provisions required across food products, but S. 510 proposes only targeted fees and excludes supplement manufacturers from HACCP provisions (2"The Tan Sheet" Nov. 23, 2009). In the report, IoM said FDA should focus data and expertise at points in the food production, distribution and handling chains with the greatest risk. While FDA is implementing risk-based strategies for enforcing safety in the production and handling of food products, the report said the agency often is reactive and is not focused on prevention

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