In the past couple of months there have been numerous cases of food poisoning and recalls associated with fruits, meats, vegetables, and other foods. While people may not typically consider these foods harmful, if they are contaminated with bacteria, consuming them could lead to serious illness.
In 2010, the U.S. Congress responded to food poisoning concerns and passed an aggressive food safety bill that gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more oversight to prevent food contamination from occurring. In 2011, it was formally signed into law. The FDA then spent a year drafting new food protection rules. Finally, the draft rules were sent to the Office of Management and Budget for final review, where they have been sitting for the past eight months.
In the 20 months since it was approved, the new food safety law has yet to be fully implemented. In the meantime, contaminated foods continue to hospitalize 128,000 people a year and kill 3,000. Just last week the FDA warned consumers of a multistate food poisoning outbreak related to contaminated cantaloupes that has led to two deaths, over 60 hospitalizations, and nearly 200 cases of Salmonella food poisoning.
The new rules included in the food safety law may not stop every illness and death, but putting them in practice could help prevent some while creating stricter safety standards for the country's food supply.