Opinion: Food Safety on Hold
Though it may be one of the most important, the Farm Bill isn’t the only piece of food-related legislation tied up in Washington. Three important food-related issues are currently stalled in various stages of legislative wrangling, as a recent editorial in the New York Times decried.
While the first lady, Michelle Obama, champions the issue of healthy food, the rest of the administration does not seem to have gotten the message.
The pending bills target all aspects of the U.S. food system. The Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in January 2011, is designed to help federal regulators prevent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses – like the recent listeria/cantaloupe scare. Standards for nutritional content of food marketed to children have languished in post-draft status for years. And FDA guidelines that force calorie-labeling were started, but never completed.
The Times editorial details where in the process the three pieces of legislation fell apart. What’s unclear, though, is when they might again see the light of day.
There are now three important food issues on hold. And health and nutrition advocates worry that they are stalled for the election season, or longer, because of pushback from the food industry.
Government oversight of food policy will have ramifications for all of us, from field to dinner table. But what will happen is anyone’s guess.
For more Food news, check out our Food page.