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SHAHEEN, BLUNT, COURTNEY, GIBSON, KUSTER LEAD BIPARTISAN COALITION CALLING FOR CHANGES TO FDA PROPOSED RULES

Letter to FDA Commissioner asks for a second draft of proposed rulemaking and additional public comment opportunities for farmers, stakeholders

November 25, 2013

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in requesting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue a second draft of regulations for public comment before issuing final Food Safety Modernization rules. In a letter co-signed by 75 members of Congress, including 42 Republicans and 33 Democrats or Independents, the bipartisan coalition expressed concerns about the impact of proposed rules on farmers and businesses that an additional comment period could help alleviate.

“Despite your agency’s efforts to engage with stakeholders during the rulemaking process, we remain concerned about the ambiguity surrounding many aspects of these proposed rules,” the letter said.

The lawmakers continued, “We believe the rules as currently proposed would result in a multitude of unintended consequences that would be severely detrimental to national, regional and local agriculture.  By seeking additional input through second proposed rules for public comment before final rules, we believe that producers’ concerns can be addressed and unintended consequences can be greatly mitigated.”

The FDA recently issued two proposed rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a 2011 law that overhauled food safety laws to increase the safety of our food supply. The rules address preventative controls for human food and standards for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption.  As proposed, the 1,200-page rules have left food producers and processors across the country concerned about a number of issues surrounding facility compliance, environmental standards, among others.

The full text of the letter is available here.

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