Washington State Changes Public Disclosure Laws to Convince FDA to Continue Sharing Food Safety Information
WASHINGTON – As reported in an online news article published by www.foodsafetynews.com, Washington state is amending its public disclosure laws to convince the FDA to continue sharing food safety information.
State governments often work together with the federal government to help regulate matters that are of concern at both the local and national level. For example, state governments rely on the free flow of information from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure states are aware of all foodborne illnesses, outbreaks, and any other food safety matters. However, the FDA has recently stopped sharing non-public information with state government officials in the state of Washington.
State lawmakers in Washington have introduced legislation to adjust the state’s public disclosure laws to provide an exemption for non-public information obtained from the FDA. The exemption would protect information the FDA is concerned about, while at the same time allowing state government officials to receive such non-public information to regulate food safety within the state of Washington.
The assistant director of food safety for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) stated that the FDA’s decision to stop sharing non-public information with Washington in 2018 has had a “significant negative impact” on food safety and limits the state’s ability to protect public health.
For example, Washington state officials are no longer participating in conference calls about outbreaks and recalls because the FDA may share some non-public information that state officials are not permitted to know about. Washington’s new law seeks to protect non-public information provided by the FDA, which the state hopes will convince the FDA to begin sharing non-public information for the sole purpose of helping the state regulate food safety. Without having all information on national food safety matters, such as outbreaks and planned recalls, Washington state officials cannot use such vital information to help protect its citizens.
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