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Published on Jul 08, 2009 by Edgar Snyder

New FDA Food Safety Measures Introduced

FDA given new food safety guidelines

New food safety guidelines for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been developed in an effort to avoid food contaminations like the recent Nestlé E. coli outbreak. The initiatives were outlined by Vice President Joe Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Some of the measures include:

  • Creation of a new position at the FDA, deputy commissioner for foods, who will oversee food production safety
  • An updated website, www.foodsafety.gov, will be developed within 90 days so that consumers will have immediate alerts to new food safety information, like recalls.
  • An improved tracking system to better trace outbreak origins
  • New safeguards to decrease salmonella in eggs, E. coli in ground beef and bacteria in leafy greens, tomatoes, and melons

The FDA's current limitations were highlighted in the recent recall of Nestlé cookie dough. During FDA inspection tours of the company's plant over the past few years, Nestlé denied inspectors access to complaint logs, pest-control records, as well as other information, which was within the company's rights. The new guidelines would require companies to hand over that information.

In the United States, about 5,000 people die and tens of millions of people become sick each year because of contaminated foods.

Sources: "'All hands on deck' as FDA aims to fix food safety." USA Today. July 8, 2009; "Feds outline new food-safety initiatives." CNN.com. July 8, 2009.
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