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Whistleblower Protection In New Food Safety Bill

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Law360, New York (December 02, 2010, 1:43 PM ET) — On Nov. 30, the U.S. Senate passed S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which imposes stricter food safety standards and grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate tainted food. The FMSA was prompted in part by numerous instances of fatal food contamination that revealed insufficient regulation and oversight of food production, including outbreaks of contaminated peanuts, eggs and produce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are 76 million cases of foodborne disease each year in the United States, 5,000 of which result in death.

To ensure that workers can disclose food safety concerns without fear of reprisal, Congress included in the FSMA a robust whistleblower protection provision (Section 402) that protects workers engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding, or importation of food. The bill must be reconciled with a House version of the bill, H.R. 2749, which passed on July 30, 2009, and final passage is expected to occur by the end of the year.

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