With little fanfare, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety
Modernization Act Jan 4 after returning from his holiday break in Hawaii.
"The Food Safety Modernization Act is the most significant food safety law of
the last 100 years," Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
said during a Jan. 3 press call.
Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who also
spoke on the press call, said the agency was “fairly far along in developing
science-based minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of
fruits and vegetables that addresses a range of concerns, worker health and
hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, water issues and soil issues and
The FDA expects to propose the rule in about a year, she said.
The Produce Marketing Association praised the new FDA reform law and the
industry's involvement in shaping it.
“Throughout the long legislative process, we worked diligently to inform key
decision-makers to help guide this legislation in a direction that will best
serve consumer safety and our industry’s food safety needs,” Bryan
Silbermann, president and chief executive officer of PMA, in a Jan. 5
statement. “Although we don’t support exemptions that were added to the
bill, we are encouraged by the positive aspects and smart reforms that form
the bill’s backbone.”
“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked countless
hours to advance food-safety efforts, as well as those members who
contacted their congresspersons and senators on this bill,” Mike O’Brien, vice
president of produce and floral at Schnuck Markets Inc., and chairman of
PMA’s board of directors and Government Affairs Committee, added in the
statement. “As complex as this has been in the last couple of weeks, one
thing is clear: Now more than ever, it is vital that our industry is seen and
heard on the subject of food safety.”