While Congress fought last week over sequestration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took on bagged lettuce, raw onions, and E. coli.
Last Thursday and Friday, the FDA held a public meeting
to discuss two proposed food safety rules covering hundreds of thousands of farms and food manufacturers. These proposed rules implement the Food Safety Modernization Act
(FSMA), signed into law by President Obama at the beginning of 2011.
FDA inserted testing language in the appendix of the proposed process rule. Eskin, however, suggested it should be in the actual rule, not relegated to the appendix. Likewise, representatives from STOP Foodborne Illness
, such as Ronald Napier, called for even more extensive product testing to ensure full compliance. Lieberman worried, on the other hand, that appendix language might become rule language without sufficient time for public comment. Others, such as Zara Khaleeli of the National Confectioners Association
, appeared to oppose product testing altogether.
Moving forward, the FDA will focus on digesting all the comments received on the proposed rules before making any decisions about how, if at all, to revise them before making them final.