"House Panel Begins Work on Food Safety Overhaul"

"A House committee began work Wednesday on a comprehensive overhaul of food safety rules that includes more inspections and new fees on producers to pay for them.

Most lawmakers and food industry officials agree that an overhaul is long overdue, but disagree on the timing of inspections and the size of new fees. The last major overhaul was in 1938, said John D. Dingell , D-Mich., former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wednesday's hearing was before the panel's Health Subcommittee.

This year's legislation is the latest effort to respond to a series of food contamination incidents over the past year or so that have killed several people, sickened many more and cost producers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The draft would create an up-to-date registry of all food facilities that serve American consumers and impose an annual $1,000 user fee on those facilities. Registered facilities also would be required to pay any costs to the Food and Drug Administration associated with re-inspections and food recalls."

CQ Politics had the story June 3, 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2009