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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell's, D-Mich., draft legislation on food safety would require FDA to collect user fees on food imported into the U.S., with the revenue used to support import inspections, lab testing on import samples and research on testing techniques for intentionally adulterated food imports. The bill, which had not been filed or assigned a number as of Aug. 10, would also prevent FDA from closing or consolidating its 13 FDA field laboratories, Dingell says in an Aug. 3 release. "Without regular inspections and analysis there is little incentive for food producers and importers to ensure that our food supply is free from harmful and sometimes fatal contaminants," he says. The bill would grant FDA authority to issue mandatory recalls; require country of origin labeling; limit the number of ports of entry for food items; halt imports of certain products until a foreign facility can demonstrate that significant steps have been taken to rectify an identified problem; and increase civil monetary penalties for manufacturers or importers that violate the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Dingell has been a frequent critic of FDA's food safety oversight and has said he would introduce legislation to bring about sweeping changes (1"The Tan Sheet" July 9, 2007, p. 9)...