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FDLI/FDA Conference In Brief

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Food prioritized in FDA Globalization Act: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will break out food safety provisions from the FDA Globalization Act, H.R. 759, as a separate bill since Chairman Henry Waxman and others in Congress have made securing the food supply a top priority. Speaking at the Food and Drug Law Institute/FDA conference in Washington April 23, Energy and Commerce majority counsel Rachel Sher explained the committee is attempting to squeeze in work on food safety with other top legislative priorities, namely health care reform and carbon emission cap-and-trade. In addition to using FDAGA "as a foundation to draft a strong food safety bill," as Waxman, D-Calif., has suggested, Sher said the chairman "intends to look closely" at Rep. Rosa DeLauro's Food Safety Modernization Act, H.R. 875, in which the Connecticut Democrat proposes placing food safety in a new agency outside FDA. Sher said Waxman is seeking additional authorities for FDA, including access to manufacturer records and mandatory recall. While Waxman would prefer not to resort to user fees to fund the agency's food safety initiatives, "the need for a stronger food program is so dire that if it appears the monies we're able to come up with through the appropriations process are inadequate, he believes we must look to regulated industry to help," Sher said. The committee will address drug, device and cosmetic provisions of FDAGA after food safety, Sher added. Michigan Democrat John Dingell introduced FDAGA in January (1"The Tan Sheet" March 16, 2009, p. 16)

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