Industry largely positive about House food safety bill

06/18/2009 09:58:14 AM
Tom Karst

“We feel good about that, because that means they can come sit with us on (the Produce Traceability Initiative) and as long as it accomplishes what we all believe it will, we have a pretty good system already underway,” he said.

Stenzel said a mandatory traceability approach was favored by committee members.

“What this legislation tells us is that there is going to be mandatory traceability — not just for produce but for all foods,” he said. “Now that everybody realizes it will be mandatory across the industry, we’re not going to have to worry that only 50% of the industry is going to do PTI.”

Stenzel said the bill, H.R. 2479, is likely to receive limited opposition when the full House considers it. Enright said a vote is expected the week of June 22.

Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to take up food safety legislation. Stenzel said the Senate could take up the House bill — referred to as the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 — or start with the framework of the bill offered by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Specifically, Stenzel said the House bill might continue to be refined but he expects no major changes to the bill before the House passes it.

Enright said Senate leadership wants to consider food safety legislation this year, but there has been no timetable set out yet.

The timetable for the Senate could depend on how quickly health care reform legislation clears committee.


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