Durbin Reintroduces Food Safety Act

Legislation would improve nation’s food safety system

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) introduced the Safe Food Act of 2019, which would create a single, independent food safety agency. Currently, food safety oversight is split up among 15 different federal agencies that administer at least 30 laws to regulate food safety. This fragmentation results in a patchwork system where no single voice guides industry, retailers, and consumers.

“Our food safety system is fragmented, outdated, and in desperate need of repair,” said Durbin. “I’m reintroducing this bill with Representative DeLauro and my colleagues in the Senate because as it stands, our nation’s broken food safety system sickens 48 million Americans every year. The Safe Food Act would modernize federal food safety laws to protect and improve public health, giving families peace of mind that the food in their refrigerators, pantries, and on their dining room tables won’t harm them.” 

The Safe Food Act would: 

  • Transfer and consolidate food safety authorities for inspections, enforcement and labeling into a single food safety agency;
  • Require full food traceability to better identify sources of outbreaks;
  • Authorize enforcement actions to strengthen contaminant performance standards; and,
  • Strengthen oversight of foreign food facilities and improve food import inspections.

Durbin and DeLauro first introduced similar legislation in 1999. Senate cosponsors of the Safe Food Act include U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The Safe Food Act is also endorsed by a broad coalition of food safety and consumer advocacy organizations, including Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, the National Consumers League, and STOP Foodborne Illness.

A one-page summary of the bill can be found here.