technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
I think that this slideshow from the Huffington Post is a decent rundown of the stuff in the new food safety bill. All in all, it doesn't look too bad. Now, the question is, will the FDA actually implement the bill as stated, or will they knuckle under to lobbyists? No idea, nor am I likely to write out my opinion for the Internet. But we can hope.

As with all FDA-related stuff, this is my opinion, and my opinion alone. I do not speak for any part of the FDA.

1) Food Recall Power -- This is the one in most of the news reports, and well should it be. Neither the USDA nor the FDA had the power to recall a darned thing. It was all voluntary. When people refused to recall, it wasn't FDA who would do the forcing. We'd have to call in the appropriate state agency, and they'd do the forcing. It worked okay with food; most states have a food recall law and agency. Drugs? Not so much.

2) Fees for Reinspection -- Could be good, could be bad. It will hit violators in the pocketbook, which is where it should hit them. But I can definitely see some problems, especially with small and very small firms.

3) Update Performance Standards -- Great, if we have the manpower to do it.

4) Establish Foreign Offices -- I guess we're allowed to do this, but I really wonder about international treaties. I want to know more. Right now, though, firms generally invite us in to inspect, because they want to be able to ship their goods to America.

5) Access to Records -- I suspect this is to bring food firms to the same levels of record compliance as drug firms. It's a good thing.

6) Power to suspend -- I suspect the reasoning for the addition here is is similar to number 1. I could be wrong.

7) Risk/Hazard Prevention -- HACCP for everyone! Seriously, this is a really freaking good idea. It works well for meat, poultry, and fish, and it should work well for other foods, too. I's a bear to implement in the beginning, though, so I hope we have the staffing to teach firms (especially, again, the small and very small firms) about how to implement it.

8) Produce Safety Standards -- Yes. Good.

9) Regulations on Food Unfit to Eat -- If it's unfit to eat, isn't it adulterated? I need more information to understand this one.

10) Food Allergy Management -- Good stuff. Not much to say.

11) Response and Recovery -- Very good. No one goes to the FDA website before going to the grocery store, unless it's a multi-state, front-page news recall.

12) Inspection frequency -- It was law that drug and device manufacturers had to be inspected every two years. So when you don't have enough inspectors to inspect everyone, who gets left out? My only issue is that in order to do this, the field NEEDS MORE INSPECTORS. Seriously, even a short, easy, one-day inspection with no collection is going to take a day of research, a day of inspecting, and then one or two days of writing up the findings, minimum. Inspectors work *hard*.

13) Tracking Produce -- Seems like a good idea. It's a lot easier to track bar-coded stuff, but most bar-coded stuff isn't eaten raw.

14) Imported Food Certification -- Seems like a good idea.

15) Foreign Regulatory Power -- Interesting. Very, very interesting. Not quite certain how this plays out...

16) Funding for Staff Expansion -- YES! MORE PEOPLE IN THE FIELD THANK YOU! Seriously, most of this stuff is worthless if we don't have the boots on the ground in all 50 states.

17) Whistleblower Protection -- Um, yes. Absolutely; this should have been in the FD&C before this.

18) Foreign Inspection Increase -- Directly ties into #16. Foreign inspection is hard, grueling work. You need good inspectors and good analysts who are willing to do that, and it takes *training*. I'm a little sad that my new job doesn't let me go out on either foreign or domestic inspections.

And now, to breakfast, and baking. I am not down with a lot of Christmas, but here's just something lovely about a breakfast of freshly baked sticky buns/cinnamon rolls.


technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)

June 2012

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