Aug. 10, 2004 – The Senate Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee will take testimony Aug. 19 on St. Thomas on a bill calling for the Health Department to adopt the 2001 federal Food Code.
The Food Code is a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The bill is sponsored by the committee chair, Sen. Douglas Canton Jr. According to Canton, the Food Code provides "practical, science-based guidance and manageable, enforceable provisions for mitigating risk factors known to cause food-borne illnesses."
Nationally, an estimated 76 million illnesses, 323,914 hospitalizations and 5,194 deaths are attributed to food-borne illnesses in the United States, the bill states, placing the cost for these illnesses at upwards of $10 billion.
The bill directs the Health commissioner to adopt the Food Code and to assess fines and penalties for violations thereof. It provides that three copies of the code will be maintained at the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
Invited to testify at the public hearing are Health Commissioner Darlene Carty; Donald Voeller, district director of the federal Food and Drug Administration; Fred Laue, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association; Julie Renfro, president of the Christiansted Restaurant and Retail Association; Anna Hector, president of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce; and Unise Tranberg, president of the Frederiksted Economic Development Association.
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