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Natural Foods Merchandiser

New legislation to prevent harmful food pathogens

As the U.S. government gets serious about food safety, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced new legislation to require food producers to keep food free from harmful pathogens.

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food-borne illnesses sicken up to 76 million people, cause 325,000 hospital visits and result in more than 5,000 deaths each year. Feinstein noted that product recalls due to E. coli, botulism and lead contamination are not rare.

“Serious reform is needed,” Senator Feinstein said. “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.”

Specifically, The Processed Food Safety Act:
* amends the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of any processed poultry, meat and FDA-regulated food that has not either undergone a pathogen reduction treatment, or been certified to contain no verifiable traces of pathogens;

* requires that labels on ground beef, or any other ground meat product, specifically name every cut of meat that is contained in the product; and

* does away with loopholes in current laws that allow for producers to add coloring, synthetic flavorings and spices to their products without informing the consumer.

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