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Senator Roberts supports food safety reform bill

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts Nov. 18 announced the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a bipartisan food safety reform bill to modernize the Food and Drug Administration's ability to protect consumers.

The bill, S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, would improve FDA's authorities and resources regarding food-borne illness prevention, food-borne illness detection and response, food defense capabilities, and overall resources.

"While I have concerns regarding a few sections of this bill, and I hope to continue working with my colleagues on those provisions," Senator Roberts said, "I am pleased that this bill takes a targeted, risk-based approach to food safety."

Following the bill's introduction, Senator Roberts expressed concerns with its impact on trade agreements due to several provisions directly interacting with U.S. trade partners.

Roberts negotiated changes incorporated into the manager's amendment to ensure nothing in the bill shall be inconsistent with World Trade Organization obligations.¬ 

"During tough economic times the last thing Congress should do is jeopardize a market for producers," Roberts said. "As a member of the Finance Committee and a Senator from a state whose economy greatly depends on exports, I look forward to continuing to work with the sponsors of the bill to ensure that at any and all trade compliance issues are addressed before the bill moves out of the Senate."

The Senator also expressed concerns with public involvement in the development of new regulations in the bill calling for new regulations to be based on sound science and provide opportunities for the public to comment on proposals before they are finalized.

Senator Roberts is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Committee on Finance.

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