The Food and Drug Administration oversees a whole lot of safety regulations and regulatory bodies. They consider genetically-modified foods, the ingredients in consumer products, and (of course) the safety of the nation’s supply of prescription drugs. Basically, it’s an enormous safety mechanism that is mostly dedicated to keeping people safe in the event of illnesses, but that’s changing. The FDA is beginning a complete overhaul of the nation’s food safety system, changing the focus from responding to outbreaks to preventing outbreaks.
“It’s a big leap forward in applying modern, preventive measures across the whole food supply,” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. It’s important to see these rules as setting the standards for food safety. The strength of this system is it is science-based; it’s not one-size-fits-all. It’s inherently adaptable to all sorts of operations. We’re looking to take widely recognized principles and apply them to a widely diverse food supply.”
There are a staggering 1200 pages of new regulations in the so-called Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress two years ago and finally put into action as part of a $1.4 billion dollar overhaul. It’s 2000 new inspectors, sweeping new powers to force companies to recall products, inspect farm and production records, change how animals are penned and stored, and even force farms to provide bathrooms and hand-washing facilities for its field work force to prevent contamination. Even imported food and animal food could be affected, making this one of the most comprehensive food law reevaluations in US history.
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