WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today introduced the first major bipartisan food safety bill. The Ending Agricultural Threats: Safeguarding America’s Food for Everyone otherwise known as the EAT SAFE Act of 2007 will address the problems of smuggled food and agriculture products which currently pose serious risks to our plants, animals and food and pose a threat to our nation’s health, economy and security.
“In the wake of massive recalls of contaminated pet food and consumer warnings about the safety of various imported food products, ensuring the safety of food products and food ingredients has taken on a greater urgency,” said Casey. “The EAT SAFE Act addresses these serious risks by applying common-sense measures to protect our food and agricultural supply. I’m pleased to work with Senator Grassley on this important legislation.”
"Americans have enjoyed the safest and most abundant food supply in the world, yet we're seeing consumer confidence continue to wane as food recalls are becoming all too common," Grassley said. "The EAT SAFE Act would help give assurance to consumers that the imported product they picked up at the grocery store is safe. I appreciate Senator Casey's work on this issue and am pleased to work with him."
A September 2007 report issued by the President’s Interagency Working Group on Import Safety acknowledges that, “aspects of our present import system must be strengthened to promote security, safety, and trade for the benefit of American consumers.” Just one of the aspects that need to be strengthened is the detection of the mounting numbers of shipments of smuggled or otherwise illegally imported food and agricultural products coming into this country.
The EAT SAFE Act as introduced would:
Personnel and Training
-Authorize $25 million for FDA and USDA to hire additional personnel to detect and track smuggled food and agricultural products and provide food defense monitoring
-Authorize $1.7 million for food safety cross training for DHS Agricultural Specialists
-Authorize $4.8 million for agriculture cross training for DHS Border Patrol Agents
Import Inspection and Testing
-Require private laboratories conducting tests on FDA-regulated products on behalf of importers to apply for and be certified by FDA
-Authorize FDA to develop a determination, certification, and audit process for these private laboratories, and authorizes FDA to collect user fees to cover certification costs
-Impose civil penalties for laboratories and/or importers who knowingly or conspire to falsify laboratory sampling results
-Establish civil penalties for importers who circumvent the USDA import reinspection system
-Require USDA and FDA to provide public notice of identified smuggled products in commerce
-Require USDA and FDA to provide government-issued public notice on recalled food products, including comprehensive listings of all recalled items, and to develop consumer-friendly, searchable recalled product listings on their websites
-Direct USDA and HHS to develop intra-agency and inter-agency Memorandums of Understanding to ensure the sharing of all collected data related to foodborne pathogens, contaminants, and illnesses
Food Safety Education Grants
-Authorize $3.5 million to establish a competitive grant program to provide funding for entities to engage in educational outreach partnerships and programs to provide health providers and their patients with information on foodborne pathogens and illness