WASHINGTON, D.C. — Erik Olson, director of food programs at The Pew Charitable Trusts, issued the following statement on today's release of major draft regulations to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which President Barack Obama signed two years ago on Jan. 4, 2011.
“President Obama today has taken an important step forward in the fight to save lives, prevent foodborne illnesses and lower health-care costs.
“Early in his first term, following a deadly outbreak stemming from contaminated peanut butter, the president promised to make our food safer. Within two years, he had signed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which he and bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate worked hard to pass.
“Today, we applaud him and the Food and Drug Administration for taking major action to help fulfill his promise by releasing two important sets of rules to implement the law. Once it is in full effect, FSMA will, for the first time, empower the Food and Drug Administration to take sweeping measures to prevent foodborne illnesses, which sicken about 48 million Americans each year at a cost of more than $77 billion.
“We will continue to work with industry, consumer advocates, survivors of foodborne illness, their families and the administration to ensure that the remaining proposed rules are soon released—and that all the regulations are as strong as possible, quickly finalized and effectively enforced.”