The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) says the food safety legislation approved by the House of Representatives late last week is much improved over the version released earlier by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“NPPC is pleased that the bill passed today (July 30) addresses our on-farm concerns,” says NPPC President Don Butler. “We are thankful that the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA) was not included in this food safety bill.” PAMTA would ban the regular use of animal health products in livestock and poultry for disease prevention and control. “America’s pork producers support strengthening the nation’s food safety system. The House bill moves us in the right direction, but work remains,” Butler adds.

The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, HR 2749, broadens the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to develop a risk-based inspection system and move toward a preventive approach to food safety regulation.

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), provides for the FDA to address food-borne illness outbreaks and regulates processors’ recordkeeping to more quickly control these outbreaks.

“NPPC is grateful to Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) and Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) for reaching compromise language contained in the bill,” Butler says. “NPPC also appreciates the help of the many Energy and Commerce and Agriculture Committee members who voiced concerns regarding the impacts that the bill would have on America’s pork producers.” Language in the bill supported by NPPC includes the Agriculture Department’s authority over products, facilities and farms raising animals from which meat and eggs are regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act or the Egg Products Inspection Act.

NPPC also supports the grains exemption, improvements in traceability of food and recordkeeping. The legislation also takes a more targeted approach for the new authority granted to FDA to ban or restrict the movement of food.