White House Overruled FDA Attempt to Require Microbiological Testing at Food Facilities
A plan to require food facilities to conduct microbiological testing to ensure their products are safe to consume has been watered down by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
In response to the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drafted new food safety rules that mandated companies conduct product and environmental testing to prevent pathogens from getting into food supplies.
But when those rules were submitted to OMB for review, administration officials from OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs stripped the provision requiring facilities to conduct microbiological testing. Such testing, according to food safety advocates, is necessary to confirm that a company’s inspection program is working properly.
David Plunkett, a senior food safety attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, criticized OMB for taking out the testing mandate.
“It’s OMB once again protecting corporate bottom lines at the expense of protection for public health,” Plunkett told Food Safety News. “Testing is critical to verification. I don’t think a preventive food safety system can be effective without it. Unfortunately, OMB bean counting of the wrong costs results in a less effective prevention program and ultimately continuing food safety problems.”
To Learn More:
Documents Show OMB Weakened FDA’s Food Safety Rules (by Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News)
Food Safety Modernization Act Testing Requirement Axed In White House Review (by Joe Satran, Huffington Post)
Obama and Vilsack Bow to Produce Lobbyists and Eliminate Program to Test for Food-Borne Diseases (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
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