Looking for a little weekend reading? The Food and Drug Administration has just the thing. On Friday, the agency released two proposed rules designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply, encompassing hundreds of pages.
One rule covers operations at fruit and vegetable farms, focusing on those foods that we eat raw and have been the subject of several recent recalls, like leafy greens, tomatoes, melons, herbs, green onions and berries. They would require worker safety training, handwashing, clean water and monitoring the presence of animals in the field that could spread illness.
Produce accounted for about 42 percent of all foodborne illness in 2010, according to the FDA.
Safety advocates, for their part, are applauding the rules in general. Erik Olson, director of Food Programs for the Pew Charitable Trust, called them "the first major overhaul of our food safety controls since the Great Depression." Some, though, are concerned that the FDA is not asking vegetable producers to carry out extensive — and expensive — testing of their products to detect harmful bacteria.