House bill would toughen rules on imported food
WASHINGTON—In a world where we get garlic from China, shellfish from Thailand and sugar cane from Mexico, Congress is ready to approve a food-safety bill that would strengthen the nation’s top regulator and impose new rules on domestic production and trading partners.
The legislation is aimed at preventing tainted food from entering the supply chain, sickening Americans and forcing huge recalls. It would give the Food and Drug Administration new powers to demand recalls and require importers to certify the safety of what they’re bringing into this country.
By allowing regulators, for instance, to react more quickly to reports of illness, the legislation could limit or prevent recalls such as those of spinach and peanuts in recent years, supporters said.
The House is expected to pass the measure today, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime update. A lot has changed since 1938,” when the current food regulatory regime was established, said Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for the nonprofit Consumers Union.