FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules to Prevent Consumer Injury

Food safety is a growing issue among Americans.  In the past year, there have been multiple high profile food recalls for fresh greens, peanuts, and meat.  And according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 1 in 6 Americans becomes sick from eating contaminated food every year.  The FDA estimates that of this total, 130,000 Americans are hospitalized with 3,000 of those individuals dying as a result of their food contamination.  In a society with advanced technologies and hygienic processes, why are we dying from contaminated food?

The FDA Seeks to Increase Food Safety 

Two years ago, Congress passed a controversial food safety bill, the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law on January 4, 2011.  After 2 years of debate within the FDA, they have finally come to an agreement on how the FDA will seek to increase consumers' safety and further regulate food production.  Approximately 80% of the food produced in America is regulated by the FDA, the rest being monitored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The law was introduced in reaction to a growing trend towards food imports.  With growing deaths and illness associated with food safety and splashy food recalls headlining the news, consumers are looking to the federal government to protect them and look after their safety. This new law, and the associated FDA guidelines are intended to take back control over the food industry, determining proactive safety measures rather than relying on failed legal reactionary measures of the past.

After 2 years of debating complex food issues spanning a wide variety of food sources and food systems, the FDA has agreed upon the following rule changes:

  • written safety plans for food production
  • analysis of contamination hazards
  • food contamination prevention policies
  • increased food safety monitoring
  • food safety corrective actions 
  • records that the FDA may use to audit the facility
  • additional food safety verifications required of out of the country importers
Preventing Public Risk of Food Contamination Injury

The new guidelines are still under debate with calls for public inquiry and debate.  However, it is a positive step towards ensuring the public's safety.  Currently, the system is very reactionary. Often, legal remedies are pursued after a food contamination scare has been announced.  Product liability attorneys routinely represent individuals who were harmed by a product they ingested. These new rules encourage a more proactive prevention of food borne illnesses instead.  Perhaps less people will fall seriously ill and die as a result of these new rules.