Climate change law reform

Food industry lobbyists have joined other business groups lining up against draft climate change legislation under consideration in the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee. The groups said they believe that the food and related industries would be unfairly affected by the recommendations in the prospective legislation.

“The facilities represented by this coalition emit roughly 2% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions but are especially vulnerable to indirect costs,” the groups said in a letter to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), committee chair, and James Inhofe (R-OK). “Consumers of the products we produce could be negatively impacted by climate change legislation that significantly increases our energy, transportation, regulatory and commodity prices.”

Industry groups signing the letter included American Bakers Association, International Dairy Foods Association and Snack Food Association.

Call for more FDA access to food company records

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg says the Senate version of legislation expanding her agency’s power addresses important safety issues, but can be improved by adding provisions included in the House version, HR 2749, the “Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.” In testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in late October, Hamburg called for additional “strengthened” provisions in the Senate version of the bill, S.510. Among her proposals is increased FDA access to food company safety records during inspections.

“Over the years, we have made progress to prevent both intentional and unintentional contamination of food,” Hamburg said. “However, changes in consumer dietary patterns, changes in industry practices, changes in the US population demographics, evolving pathogens, and an increasingly globalized food supply chain pose challenges that are requiring us to adapt our current food protection strategies.”

HR 2749, which passed the House over the summer, gives the agency mandatory recall authority, increased food inspections oversight, and mandates food safety plans be in place in food facilities.