One Step Closer: President Obama Fulfills Key Promise in Effort to Make Our Food Safer

On January 4, 2013, the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law, the administration released two major draft proposals under the legislation.

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Read Pew's statement on the new FDA draft rules.

Once finalized, the draft rules will establish produce safety standards to minimize contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables and develop prevention-based requirements for processed foods such as cookie dough and peanut butter.

Other provisions in the law still under White House review include a new oversight system that will hold importers responsible for the safety of food they bring into the United States and establish requirements for third-party auditors who may be used to a limited degree for imported food. Another requirement will set safety standards for pet foods.

Once fully implemented, the Act, the first overhaul to America's food safety system since the Great Depression, will give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more enforcement tools and greater authority to prevent – not just react to – foodborne outbreaks.

While the proposal's are a good step forward, without full implementation, the promise of FSMA will not become a reality, and Americans will continue to get sick from preventable foodborne illnesses.

On Feb. 28 and March 1, FDA held the first in a series of three public meetings on the two major proposed rules under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Pew's Sandra Eskin as well as several victims of foodborne illnesses provided testimony. Additional meetings will be held in Chicago on March 11-12 and in Portland on March 27-28.

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