Prompted by Europe's recent food-safety scares, Congress is trying to put some teeth into current U.S. meat-smuggling laws. As such, legislators are looking to form a comprehensive policy regarding meat and livestock smuggling, while strengthening federal power to deal with potential animal-disease outbreaks.

Under the proposed legislation, maximum fines for violating meat-smuggling regulations would jump from $1,000 to $50,000 for individuals – $1,000 for first-time offenders – and $250,000 for businesses. The proposals come on the heels of recent bouts with foot-and-mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Europe, as well as renewed bioterrorism fears here at home.

The bills (S. 1482 and H.R. 2002) can be read in their entirety at by clicking on "legislation" and then "107th Congress" and at by using the pull-down search option and typing in the bill number.

Associated Press