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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reform efforts continue on Capitol Hill and food packaging stands to be affected. The Food Safety Reform Coalition (representing food and beverage manufacturers) is working to amend legislation introduced by Rep.
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Scott Klug R-WI to simplify the way food contact packaging is regulated. Under the proposed amendment food manufacturers or packaging suppliers would be required to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) 120 days prior to introduction of the packaging and establish that either (a) it is not reasonably expected to become a component of the food or (b) its use under intended conditions is safe. No further action would be required unless the Secretary objected. Although the bill is not expected to pass this year "we would be thrilled to get it on the agenda in the House" said Jerome Heckman a partner in the law firm of Keller and Heckman which represents the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI). Other coalition members include the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) the National Food Processors Association the National Soft Drink Association and the Snack Foods Association. Heckman pointed out that the Senate has tacitly acknowledged the need for legislative action on indirect food additives. The report accompanying the FDA reform bill from Sen. Nancy Kassebaum R-KS noted that a different procedure should be available for FDA review of indirect food additives-such as packaging materials-versus direct food additives.

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