S.1502 — Safe Meat and Poultry Act of 2013 — aims to improve the federal government’s oversight of food safety.
The bill establishes a “pathogen reduction performance standard,” or a series of steps to reign in food contamination. Distributors and processors of meat/poultry/egg products would be required to date and label their products at all stages of production. This labeling requirement is part of a larger goal to trace foodborne illness when there is an outbreak.
The Department of Agriculture would also be mandated to publish information on the list of most common pathogens contributing to foodborne illnesses.
Any individual or company that fails to comply with this bill's requirements could face a penalty of $10,000 for each offense. Those convicted of misbranding eggs/meat products could face criminal penalties, imprisonment, and a $25,000 fine. For all those whistleblowers out there in the meat and poultry business, S.1502 also has built in protections for those who speak up against offenders.