House subcommittee passes food safety bill

06/15/2009 02:29:00 PM
Tom Karst

"Seeing people at work in the last week, there is a very strong commitment to have a bipartisan bill come out of committee," he said June 10. "I think that bodes well for quick passage in the House."

United Fresh was pleased with the bill's language about research and country-of-origin labeling. Guenther said the language allowed for existing farm bill law about country-of-origin labeling to stand.

At the same time, he said United Fresh does not want user fees to be included in the final bill and wants to fine-tune the language on traceability.

On the other hand, Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety for the Pew Health Group, said Pew would have liked to see the $1,000 fee per facility remain in place. Pew Health Group is part of The Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent non-profit at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., .

"It's not an inconsequential change in terms of the money that could be raised," he said, adding that Pew also prefers more frequent inspection for high-risk facilities than is outlined in the legislation.

Considering the quick pace of the House Energy and Commerce committee's work, Olson said there would be multiple opportunities to bring the bill to the House floor before the August recess.

(Clarification note: This article has been updated to clarify Erik Olson's affiliation with the Pew Health Group.)


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