Obama Administration Slow to Implement Food Safety Law

Saturday, July 21, 2012
Jeffrey Zients, director of the Office of Budget and Management
The White House has been dragging its feet over rules implementing a major food-safety law, according to supporters of the legislation.
With broad bipartisan support, Congress adopted the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2010. The law was intended to overhaul the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of the nation’s food supply, especially with respect to imported foods.
The FDA developed rules to implement the legislation and sent them to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the White House for review. There, they have sat since December, which is unusual, according to consumer groups.
Advocates in favor of the food safety law worry that President Barack Obama may be reluctant to take action on the new regulations during an election campaign, lest he be perceived as expanding government and open himself up to attacks from Republicans, and for fear of losing campaign contributions from agribusiness.
If OMB approves the rules, the FDA will have to circulate them for public comment, which could take months before they go into effect.
An estimated 3,000 Americans die each year as a result of food contamination.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Groups Urge Action on Food Safety Law (by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times)


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