August 01, 2009


 AVMA legislative agenda addresses Red Flags Rule, food safety

Posted July 18, 2009

The Executive Board, meeting June 4-6, took positions on a variety of legislation in the 111th Congress—including bills that address food safety and a bill to exempt small health care practices from a rule relevant to identity theft.

The board's positions concurred with recommendations from the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee.

The board approved "active pursuit of passage" for the Exemption of Health Care Practices from the Red Flags Rule (H.R. 2345). The Red Flags Rule requires many businesses to develop programs to detect warning signs of identity theft, or red flags, and respond appropriately. H.R. 2345 would exempt health care practices with 20 or fewer employees from having to comply with the rule.

The AVMA will support the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (S. 510) and the Safe Food Enforcement, Assessment, Standards, and Targeting Act of 2009 (H.R. 1332). S. 510 would provide the Food and Drug Administration with additional authority, resources, and standards relevant to food safety. H.R. 1332 is similar to S. 510. The LAC recommended supporting the bills as a good start to the debate on food safety.

The board approved a position of "nonsupport" for the Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act of 2009 (H.R. 814) and the Safe and Fair Enforcement and Recall for Meat, Poultry, and Food Act of 2009 (H.R. 815).

The LAC concurred with the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee in recommending "nonsupport" for these bills. The FSAC noted that a traceability system for all meat, poultry, and egg products would be ideal—but the FSAC feels that provisions of H.R. 814 are impractical and expensive. The FSAC believes H.R. 815 does not indicate what level of food adulteration presents a threat to public health.

On recommendation of the LAC, the board also approved a position of "nonsupport" for the FDA Globalization Act (H.R. 759) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 875).

H.R. 759 seeks to improve the safety of food and drugs in the global market. Among other objections, the LAC has concerns with the bill because enactment would mean that government agencies would become involved in setting laboratory standards.

H.R. 875 would establish a Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services. The LAC opposes the portion of the bill that would move the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine into the new agency.

The LAC also feels that establishment of a Food Safety Administration could result ultimately in the integration of the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service into the new agency. If a single agency were to oversee food safety, the AVMA Food Safety Policy supports locating the agency within the USDA.

On April 28, the AVMA Board of Governors voted separately to take a position of "nonsupport" on the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669). The bill would require the interior secretary to approve species for importation, but the LAC believes the bill is unclear about how to proceed if evidence is insufficient to determine harmfulness of a species.