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New bill could lead to major changes in food product recalls

While many Americans, including residents here in Illinois, implicitly trust the products that they buy, in many cases, consumer products have defects that render them unsafe for use. Often, unsafe products may cause illness and death of consumers.

In 2014, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress that would have given more teeth to the Department of Agriculture and empowered the Department to remove unsafe food products, such as meat, poultry and eggs. However, the bill did not see the light of the day and was not passed by Congress.

There are now two follow-ups to that bill. The first bill would set up an independent food safety agency and the second would implement new recall measures. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Senator from New York, proposed this legislation soon after Illinois Senator Dick Durban developed a similar bill. The bill proposes to revamp the current food safety agency.

The Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act seeks to simplify the recall process of consumer products. At present, the law is vague and it is not known if the food agency can recall food products that have pathogens. The problem is that the definition of adulterated food is not very clear. Adulterated food is a product that contains toxic pesticides or unsafe additives that can cause illness.

Gillibrand says that the new bill would tell consumers which products are unsafe and can cause illness. It would improve upon the basic concept of food safety for consumers.

Source: Consumerist, "Proposed Bills Would Revamp Food Safety Agencies & Recall Protocols," Ashlee Kieler, Feb.6, 2015

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