Yesterday, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), a landmark bill that greatly increases the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority over our nation’s food system. Under this law, to be signed by President Obama today, food facilities will be required to put food safety plans in place, and the FDA will have the ability to issue mandatory food recalls. Continue reading
Amidst the massive egg recall and the debate over local food math, I’m craving simplicity. With summer vacations departed and the back-to-school frenzy afoot, the slow dwindling of daylight hours subdues my kitchen a bit.
Okay, I admit it. I don’t have any kids to cart off to Target for school supplies or worry about what to wear on the first day or pack for lunch. While my only concern outside of the pending cooler temperatures is wondering how the changing traffic pattern may affect my work commute, this historically hectic time of year has permeated my mindset. Back to the basics I go with this unadorned, baked Sweet Dumpling squash, courtesy of the Landisdale Farm CSA. A tender and sweet summer send-off. Continue reading
Piazza Market Goodies 3.6.2010
There’s been a lot of chatter around food recalls this past week. Of particular interest is the March 4 recall of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), a by-product of breaking down protein (typically from soy, corn, or wheat) into its amino acids to use as a flavor enhancer in packaged foods. HVP is found in thousands of processed food products, including instant soups, hot dogs, veggie burgers, sauces, and gravies. A manufacturer of HVP, Basic Food Flavors out of Las Vegas, Nevada, detected salmonella in a batch of the product and reported to the FDA for investigation while continuing to ship its product. About one month later, the FDA announced the recall.
One month later.
While still no illnesses have been linked to this recall which includes over 100 products, it’s yet another symptom of a food safety system that needs serious rehabilitation. With the President committed to improving food safety in the U.S., the American public is waiting with baited breath. The current bill in Congress introduced in June 2009 would give the FDA more power over recalls and establish performance standards to prevent contaminants. There is another much more controversial bill introduced three months prior also making its way through Congress that would give the FDA a heavy-hand in inspecting facilities, ordering recalls and strict regulations. Criticized as a one-size fits all approach for food processors, it remains menacing for small farms where record keeping, testing and other measures may be difficult to comply with. Should small producers selling from their farm houses or traveling to weekly farmers markets be held to the same standards as industrial farms delivering to supermakets and wholesale chains nationwide? Continue reading