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Consumer groups urge government action on food safety legislation

Ten consumer groups are urging the Obama administration to act on parts of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which gives the US Food and Drug Administration more control over food and petfood imports and the authority to set new petfood safety standards to prevent contamination.

FDA regulations needed to fully carry out the Food Safety Modernization Act have been under review since December 2011 by the Office of Management and Budget, and consumer groups say there has been no explanation for the delay. Before being officially implemented, FDA must allow time for public comment, adding further to the delay, the groups say.

"It’s frankly a surprise to us,” said Erik D. Olson, director of food programs at the Pew Charitable Trusts, a group involved in promoting the legislation. “The administration was proud of this accomplishment, and having these things just sit there is quite a juxtaposition.”

However, according to Moira Mack, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, it is not unusual for a review process to take months because suggestions are gathered from many institutions across the federal government. “We are committed to getting it right,” Mack said.

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