It is so far, so good on exempting farms already regulated by USDA from new inspections by the FDA under the comprehensive food safety bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
The chamber voted 283 to 142 to approve a $3.8 billion measure that would direct the FDA to write new regulations to safeguard the food supply, require more frequent inspections of processing plants and force companies to keep better records to help regulators trace outbreaks. The plan would be partly financed by a $500 annual fee on food producers.
H.R. 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act, included several concessions sought by grain and livestock farmers and small farms that sell food direct to farmers markets, restaurants or grocery stores. Meat and egg facilities already regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be exempt from the FDA's extended powers.
Food, livestock, poultry, facilities and farms are exempt from the requirements of this legislation if they are regulated by the secretary of agriculture under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act or the Egg Products Inspection Act.