Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced the “Safe Meat and Poultry Act” to reduce the number of foodborne outbreaks and update the meat and poultry inspection and consumer notification system. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans will suffer from a foodborne illness every year. Senator Gillibrand said, “This legislation contains practical measures to ensure no American gambles with their health when purchasing poultry or meat products. Not only would we reduce foodborne illness, but we also strengthen our nation’s agriculture and food industry.”
The legislation would:
• Create mandatory pathogen reduction performance standards and expand the authority of the USDA to regulate new pathogens, which will make progress toward targeting and reducing dangerous pathogens in the meat and poultry supply.
• Improve consumer notification for recalls of contaminated products.
• Provide whistleblower protection for government and private workers in the food industry to report public health issues and support a more resilient agriculture industry.
• Provide better enforcement penalties, including criminal penalties for intentionally putting unsafe products in the marketplace, and escalating enforcement action for the few bad actors that have a repeated history of serious failures to ensure food safety.
• Safeguard our borders from unsafe or adulterated foreign meat and poultry products by ensuring regular international audits by the Food Safety & Inspection Service.
• Increase the emphasis on prevention throughout the entire food safety system, including for pathogens, chemical residues and potential contamination.
• Improve consideration given to occupational health and safety to support a safe and sustainable environment in which wholesome products can be produced, inspected and passed.
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