House Dems push new food safety regulations

Democratic leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Denver Rep. Diana DeGette, introduced legislation yesterday granting the Food and Drug Administration more powers to monitor the nation’s food producers.

The Washington Post describes the bill as lending the FDA “broad new enforcement tools, including the authority to recall tainted food, the ability to ‘quarantine’ suspect food, and the power to impose civil penalties and increased criminal sanctions on violators.”

Among other things, the proposal would put greater responsibility on growers, manufacturers and food handlers by requiring them to identify contamination risks, document the steps they take to prevent them and provide those records to federal regulators. The legislation also would allow the FDA to require private laboratories used by food manufacturers to report the detection of pathogens in food products directly to the government.

Just one question: Why doesn’t FDA have these powers already?