The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun the New Year with a major announcement: the FDA has officially proposed new standards for food safety in this country, in response to foodborne illness outbreaks that have happened across the country in recent years. It is shocking but true that in America each year, people are seriously injured or suffer a wrongful death from eating or drinking something they assumed was safe.
Unsafe food is a big problem in this country: stores selling products that can hurt or kill
For example, in September 2012 we documented about common foods like peanut butter; rice; spinach; and cheese being unsafe — things sold on your local grocery store shelf or presented at your local restaurant. Just one month before that, we wrote about a congresswoman moving Congress to act on unsafe foods after 14 people got sick after eating ground beef bought at local stores which was contaminated with bacteria (salmonella).
FDA responding with tougher food safety regulations
Accordingly, the FDA is proposing 2 new rules that will work with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Members of the public are invited to contact the FDA and comment on their take on the proposals. Comments are open for the next 4 months (120 days).
“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a common sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “With the support of industry, consumer groups, and the bipartisan leadership in Congress, we are establishing a science-based, flexible system to better prevent foodborne illness and protect American families.”
The first rule requires makers of food sold in the U.S. to develop a formal plan for preventing their products from causing foodborne illness and fixing any food poisoning problems that might nevertheless happen.
The second rule will establish safety standards for how farms produce their crops and harvest them, i.e., targeting the safety of fruits and vegetables. Bigger farms would have to meet the new rule within a shorter time period than smaller farms.
If you are interesting in commenting on these proposed new rules, then visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.