Food Safety Modernization Act Passes

Today, the Senate passed S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. Because it is my priority to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians, I cosponsored and voted for this bill, which provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the tools and authority to ensure contaminated foods are kept out of our kitchens. This bill also includes bipartisan provisions I authored to protect our food supply from smuggled food.

S. 510 improves the FDA’s capacity to detect foodborne illnesses by assessing safety threats at food facilities, increasing inspection of imported foods and exploring new ways to track fruits and vegetables in the case of an outbreak. Under this bill, the FDA will now have the authority to issue a mandatory recall. In addition, S. 510 contains multiple provisions of the EAT SAFE Act, which I introduced in the 110th and 111th Congresses. These provisions add personnel to detect, track and remove smuggled food and call for the development and implementation of strategies to stop food from being smuggled into the country.

A great deal of misinformation about S. 510 has circulated on the internet and through word-of-mouth. I want to bring some clarity to some of misinformation that I have heard. For example, S. 510 does not outlaw home gardens or family farms. Also, the bill exempts small facilities and small farms from regulations, which was purposefully included to protect America’s family farms. This includes food sold through farmers’ markets, bake sales, road side stands, public events, community supported agriculture and fundraisers. Further, S. 510 does not change FDA’s jurisdiction over farms, does not require that farms keep any new food safety-related records and does not create any new rules in regard to the practice of saving seeds for use from year to year. I hope this information is helpful to you. I believe that S. 510 is an important step in modernizing the American food safety system.