Finally! New US Food Safety Rules

Finally! New US Food Safety Rules


Have you noticed how many food recalls we have had in the past couple of years? It’s been everything from peanut butter, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, lettuce, cantaloupe, spinach, and more. I can not remember ever having so much food sickness as we have had recently. It seems like every three months something is being recalled because of salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

Lately the United States has had a tremendous amount of food illnesses. The FDA said roughly one in six Americans suffer from a food-born illness each year, and over 3,000 deaths have occurred.

The FDA announced Friday, that new rules required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), was signed into law two years ago. What took them so long?

One rule requires makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced in a foreign or domestic based facility, would have to have a formal plan to prevent their products from causing food-born illnesses. That would only make sense to me. Why wouldn’t they already have that in place? Why haven’t they already been watching the third world countries that we get food from? We get food from Chile, Mexico and other countries. Some of these countries have very poor water systems and some septic systems run into the fields. This is true because I have seen it with my own eyes.

Another rule, if they did have problems, they would have plans to correct it. Again, why wouldn’t they already have that in place?

Another rule, the companies should have safety standard requirements for farms that produce and harvest fruits and vegetables. Farms would be required to meet national standards for the quality of water applied to their crops. I thought OSHA already had those rules in place. It’s a shame this is a new rule.

Companies will be required to document and keep records to verify that they are preventing problems.
The FDA said by implementing the new rules, this will add more cost to the food companies and farms. It will also add more cost for the FDA because they will have to hire more inspectors. What they did not say is that in order to get the extra money, the only way would be for our food cost to go up.

I always thought that the FDA always had inspectors and inspected all our food that we bought from the large farms and companies. I guess this is one time when the old saying goes, “Don’t just assume it’s right”, is very true.

The Center for Food safety sued the FDA last August for missing several deadlines set under the law. The rules for analyzing and documenting hazards were due last July, and the standards for safe production for harvesting fruits and vegetables were due last January.

The FDA says within the next few months they hope to issue a proposed rule on preventive controls for animal feed. They also hope to present proposed regulations related to importer accountability for food safety. I am so surprised that we already did not have that in place!

The FDA announced that they will allow 120 days for public comment.

Oh by the way, I would just like to add a few more of my comments, or opinions. I think we should be giving jobs back to our Americans and start farming more rather than buying it from other countries. We need to become more self-sustaining. What if something were to happen and the US could no longer get the goods we are accustom to getting. It would not be an overnight recovery.

Reference: New US Food Safety Rules Aim for More Accountability. Medscape. Jan 04, 2013

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