News / USA

New US Food Safety Rules Released

US Moves to Improve Food SafetyUS Moves to Improve Food Safety
x
US Moves to Improve Food Safety
US Moves to Improve Food Safety
New rules hailed as the biggest improvements in U.S. food safety since the 1930s took a step forward Friday. Regulators say the proposals may prevent more than one million cases of foodborne illness each year.

They come two years to the day since President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act. They are the first step in implementing that law, which puts the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] in charge of preventing foodborne disease outbreaks. Experts say that’s a change from the reactive role it has played in the past.

Passage of the law followed a string of high-profile nationwide disease outbreaks linked to bagged spinach, peanut butter and other foods, in which hundreds of people became ill.
 
“They occurred because of problems that would have been addressed by these kinds of approaches. So I think we’re very optimistic that we’ll begin to see real change,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

Preventive measures

The new approaches FDA has proposed call for food manufacturers to show that they have identified where contamination is most likely to happen, and taken steps to prevent it. The proposed rules also set safety standards for raising and harvesting fruits and vegetables.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing all of the law’s provisions will cost the government $1.4 billion dollars. Food makers support the law, though the Grocery Manufacturers of America, a major industry trade group, declines to estimate what it will cost producers.

But with about one in six Americans getting sick from contaminated food each year, FDA’s deputy commissioner Michael Taylor said it will be worthwhile.
 
“Even if you just look at estimated reductions in illness. But if you also take into account avoiding disruption of the food supply and the loss of confidence in those commodities by consumers, I think we’ll see that the benefits substantially outweigh the costs of implementation,” said Taylor.

“We’re really happy that the new rules have come out. They’re a little late,” said Caroline Smith-DeWaal, director for food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

They’re a year late, she said, adding that some are still missing.

“The bigger question is, where are the rules on imports that haven’t been released yet?” she asked.

Followup and funding

FDA said about 15 percent of food consumed in the U.S. is imported, and that proportion has been growing. The rules to ensure food produced outside the U.S. meets the same standards as food made domestically have not been released yet, though FDA says they are coming soon.

The rules will not go into effect for more than a year, following public comment and revision.

And experts note that Congress will have to come up with funding to enforce the rules, a challenge in a time of shrinking budgets.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More