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GEOGRAPHIC QUARANTINE

Send a personal message to your legislators through our petition system by clicking on “Oppose HR 2749“.  

Talking Point:  HR 2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.”  Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination.  The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area.

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Excerpt from June 15 Post by Pete Kennedy (page references to Pallone’s version–See corresponding Waxman’s version at end):

B.  POWER TO QUARANTINE 

Finally, the bill would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic location.  The FSEA provides:

“If the Secretary determines that there is credible evidence or information that an article of food presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, the Secretary may quarantine any geographic area within the United States where the Secretary reasonably believes such food is located or from which such food originated.  The authority to quarantine includes prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area” [section 133(b)(1)–pp. 83-84].  

In other words, the agency can halt the movement of all food in a geographic area.  Farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the dangerous contamination.  The agency could take this drastic action without any court order.   The only requirements are that the HHS Secretary “notify an appropriate official of the State affected” and issue a public announcement [section 133(b)(2)–p. 84].

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Waxman’s version (June 17)

* * Pallone section 133(b)(1)-pp. 83-84 = Waxman pp. 98-99 [words added in (1)] * *

SEC. 133. QUARANTINE AUTHORITY FOR FOODS.

(a) PROHIBITED ACT.—Section 301 (21 U.S.C. 331), as amended by sections 110 and 111, is amended by adding at the end by adding the following:

   ‘‘(qq) The violation of a quarantine under section  304(i).’’.

(b) IN GENERAL.—Section 304 (21 U.S.C. 334) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘‘(i) QUARANTINE OF GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION.—

         ‘‘(1) AUTHORITY TO QUARANTINE.—If the Secretary determines that there is credible evidence or information that an article of food presents an imminent threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, the Secretary may quarantine any geographic area within the United States where the Secretary reasonably believes such food is located or from which such food originated.  The authority to quarantine includes prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area. Any quarantine under this paragraph shall be no greaterrthan is appropriate, as determined by the Secretary, to protect the public health.

      ‘‘(2) NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES.—Before any quarantine action is taken in any State under this subsection, the Secretary shall notify an appropriate official of the State affected and shall issue a public announcement of—

          ‘‘(A) the Secretary’s findings that support the quarantine action;

          ‘‘(B) the area affected by the intended quarantine action;

          ‘‘(C) the reasons for the intended quarantine action; and

          ‘‘(D) where practicable, an estimate of the anticipated duration of the quarantine. The Secretary is not required to make such announcement by publication in the Federal Register, but may use a newspaper, radio or television, the Internet, or any reasonable means to make such announcement.

      ‘‘(3) NONDELEGATION.—The authority to quarantine under this subsection is limited to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, the Principal Deputy Commissioner, and the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs of the Food and Drug Administration.’’.

 The “Oppose HR 2749” petition is posted at https://ftcldf.org/petitions/pnum993.php

Information provided courtesy Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (www.farmtoconsumer.org)

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