Feinstein proposes 'pathogen free' legislation

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — Senator Dianne Feinstein of California introduced legislation on Nov. 30 that would amend the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of any food that has not been certified to be pathogen free. The legislation, S.2819, was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

“Food producers must be obligated to produce food that is free of pathogens,” Ms. Feinstein said. “It is the responsibility of the food producer, not the consumer, to make sure our food safe to eat.

“Anyone who visits the web sites of the U.S.D.A. or the F.D.A. can see that recalls are not a rare occurrence. In the last month, these two federal agencies recalled thousands of pounds of beef because of E. coli contamination, packages of apples and carrots that contained botulism spores, and dried plums that contained traces of lead.

“Serious reform is needed. This bill would require companies that process any kind of food, from ground beef to frozen pot pies, to test their finished products and their ingredients to make sure that they are safe to eat and pathogen free.”

In addition, the legislation would require the processors of ground beef to name every cut of meat that is included in the final product.

Food processors also would be prevented from adding colorings, synthetic flavorings or spices to products without informing the consumer, according to a summary of the legislation.

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