Salmonella Outbreaks Bring FDA to Propose New Food Safety Laws to Fight Food Contamination

The Cochran Firm Ohio, a leading Ohio personal injury and product liability attorney, is applauding the FDA on their efforts to help curb the Salmonella Outbreaks that are all to frequently happening in our country. The FDA is set to propose new food safety laws to help fight food contamination.

FDA-Food-Safety-LawsThe proposed rules will change the agency’s response based system to a pro-active system that works to prevent the thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations that occur annually due to food contamination. The rules would offer specific measures the industry would take under the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act.

Food safety laws haven’t changed in any major way for more than 70 years, though the American food supply chain has changed drastically. According to the New York Times, today nearly 80 percent of the seafood we eat is imported, yet only one out of every million pounds is inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to the U.S. government, “One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. Most of them will recover without any lasting effects from their illness. For some, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.”

In fact, last year alone the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated Salmonella outbreaks stemming from peanut butter, mangoes, cantaloupe, ground beef, and tuna. Currently, the FDA is investigating an Indiana farm, seeking information regarding “unsanitary conditions” reported last year in connection to an outbreak of salmonella from tainted cantaloupes, which made over 200 people sick and has been connected to three deaths.

Among the changes proposed by the FDA are contamination prevention measures, human and animal waste contamination prevention, outbreak contingency plans, farm irrigation standards, record keeping rules, and keeping cooked foods from contact with raw produce. (https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/food-and-drug-administration)

According to the New York Times, the FDA believes the new rules could prevent close to two million contaminated food related illnesses yearly.

Of the rules proposed, the first would require processed food manufacturers to reduce contamination risks, implement corrective measures, and keep auditable records. The second rule would affect the harvest and production of fresh vegetables and fruits, and includes water standards for irrigation, soil amendments, hygiene, animals in the growing area, and equipment, tools, and buildings.

The FDA would require most businesses to comply with the new rules within one year, however small businesses would be given two years to comply, and very small businesses would have three years. The agency estimates that the first rule will save about $2 billion a year in food borne illness related economic costs, while costing the industry about $472 million annually.

The agency says the second rule would cover more than 40,000 domestic farms and 14,927 foreign farms, and estimates a $630 million annual cost to foreign and domestic farms, while reducing food-borne related illnesses by 1.75 million, saving the economy more than $1 billion annually.

The FDA plans on creating better guidelines for imported foods, including standards for importer, and oversea safety audits. However, financial resources will dictate how much oversight will be provided by the FDA and how deeply the regulatory agency can be changed from a response-based system to a food safety firewall.