Make Our Food Safe

''Front & Center: Keeping an Eye on Food Supply"

Orlando Sentinel | Darryl E. Owens

"In an email interview, Orlando Sentinel Editorial Writer Darryl E. Owens asked Sandy Eskin, project director of the Food Safety Campaign with the Pew Health Group, about the measure's potential impact.

Q: Wasn't last year's Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act created to prevent these kinds of food borne outbreaks?

A: Yes. This landmark legislation, the first major overhaul of FDA's food safety law since the Great Depression, shifts the focus from reacting to food safety problems to preventing them. In terms of produce, like cantaloupe, it requires FDA to establish safety standards for growing and harvesting that would prevent contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Q: What's the holdup?

A: Short answer: The rules are being held up at the White House. In order to implement the new law, the FDA must propose and then finalize new safeguards that would spell out what growers should do to prevent safety problems. In December, FDA sent its draft rules to the White House's Office of Management and Budget, which has delayed them for more than eight months. The new law required these proposed rules to be published by Jan. 4."

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