Many can agree that food safety should be a top priority for lawmakers and food companies alike. After all, proper food safety protocols are what keep consumers safe from foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli. Unfortunately, some legislators in Congress are proposing an “unrelenting gauntlet of regulatory obstacles” for all new food safety rules, known as the Regulatory Accountability Act. The Regulatory Accountability Act has already passed the House, and will “require endless studies of potential agency alternatives and subject new rules to layers upon layers of judicial review and congressional approval.” Now that it’s been approved in the House, the Senate is working on drafting up its own version. This is bad news for consumers and food safety advocates across the country.
So what exactly would legislation like the Regulatory Accountability Act mean for food safety in the U.S. if it’s passed? According to Food Safety News, before new safety rules can be adopted, “agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture would first have to consider an endless array of regulatory options.” After that, proposed rules would have to “withstand two layers of review by judges newly charged to second-guess agency experts” before having to be approved by BOTH the Senate and the House. With so many obstacles, many worry that very few, if any, new food safety rules will ever pass. Because of this, some have begun referring to the legislation as the “Filthy Food Bill.”
Wondering why consumers should be alarmed over the “Filthy Food Bill?” Well, for those unaware, many of the food safety rules we have in place today have “saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of illnesses.” All you have to do is look at examples mentioned by Food Safety News to realize how important food safety rules are. One of these examples mentions how the USDA issued a rule to “ban the sale of hamburgers contaminated” with E. coli bacteria after four children died from consuming the pathogen. Rules like this one keep consumers safe and save lives, but if the Regulatory Accountability Act or other laws like it are allowed to pass, life-saving laws like the one issued by the USDA might be a thing of the past.
Laws like the Regulatory Accountability Act aren’t progress. Instead, they take us backward where we shouldn’t be, especially considering the fact that “unsafe food continues to kill 3,000 Americans every year and send 128,000 to hospitals.” With so many food-related deaths and illnesses each year still occurring, now is not the time to be passing laws that will make our food less safe and more prone to contamination.