iFoodDS-Backed Traceability Measures Advance in US Congress
By Diane Wetherington
Founder and Executive Chairman
September 8, 2021
iFoodDS is actively engaged in the legislative process on Capitol Hill. As reported in our June 22 blog post, we support the inclusion of language in the upcoming federal agriculture appropriations bill that underscores the importance of technology for preventing outbreaks and improving food traceability at every stage of the supply chain. The agriculture appropriations bill provides funding each year for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the many programs administered by these federal agencies.
Language championed by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in the US House of Representatives led by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) was successfully incorporated into the House version of the agriculture appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022). The bill won approval by the House Committee on Appropriations in late June and passed the full House in late July. iFoodDS supports Mr. Panetta’s language, detailed in our June 22 post.
Meanwhile, the US Senate has included traceability language in its version of the FY 2022 agriculture appropriations bill as well. The Senate version of the bill, which the Senate Committee on Appropriations reported out on August 4, reads as follows:
The Committee recognizes that the ability to trace back contaminated products is critical to containing food safety outbreaks, but that challenges associated with tracing these products through the supply chain continue to persist. While the traceability from origin holds potential for a range of advancements in food safety, the Committee recognizes the substantial technological, logistical, and resource demands underlying this concept. Therefore, it encourages FDA to engage with stakeholders to evaluate currently available and emerging technologies, barriers to their widespread adoption, and to utilize pilots, studies, and technology development competitions to further explore, enhance and expedite traceability while minimizing the burden of new systems on the supply chain.
The Senate language is not as strong or comprehensive as the Panetta-led House language but is nonetheless a welcome step forward. We hope that when House and Senate negotiators meet later this year to hammer out a consensus version of the FY 2022 appropriations bill, senators will agree to include the Panetta language in the final version of the bill.
iFoodDS is working closely with Mr. Panetta’s staff and other congressional leaders to build Senate support for the House-passed language in hopes that the legislation that is ultimately enacted will provide clear support for enhancing food traceability measures in the nation’s food chain. We applaud legislators of both parties on both sides of the aisle for their interest in addressing this topic in the next agriculture funding bill.