Make Our Food Safe

"A look at the long-awaited food safety bill"

"In response to the approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year due to foodborne illnesses, the Senate finally passed the nation’s first food safety bill. The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to stop outbreaks of sickness from unsafe foods before they arrive on kitchen tables. Currently the FDA can only order voluntary recalls, but under the new bill, the FDA would have the authority to require farmers and food processors to explain how they are working to keep their food safe at different stages of production and demand a recall if the food is tainted.

The $1.4 billion bill, which would also place stricter standards on imported foods, passed the Senate by a vote of 73 to 25. The bill still needs to be approved by the House, which passed its own bill last year.

Although the bill would affect about 80 percent of the food supply, it does not apply to meat. Need to Know asked David Plunkett, senior staff attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), why meat was left out and other questions about the bill (S. 510)..."

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