"Efforts to implement the largest overhaul of food safety regulations in 70 years could be imperiled by a provision included in the House-passed farm bill headed to the Senate on Tuesday.
The House legislation, approved last week, contains an amendment requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a “scientific and economic analysis” of regulations drafted under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), further delaying the enactment of new food safety rules.
The FDAproposed the rules in January, following bipartisan approval of the legislation in late 2010. The law, signed by President Obama the following January, requires farmers and other food producers to adhere to a new set of guidelines, replacing a system that had largely been designed to respond to outbreaks from food-borne illnesses rather than prevent them.
Food safety advocates have complained that the enactment of the new standards has been fraught with delays, and have taken the Obama administration to court in an effort to speed up the process. The FDA now faces a June 2015 deadline to finalize the rules meant to protect the public.
The House bill language, penned by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), would further complicate enactment of the rules."