On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the House passed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act, and the President has now signed it into law. The legislation constitutes the biggest upgrade of America's food safety laws since the Great Depression, giving the FDA the new authorities and resources it needs to ensure the safety of our food supply.
Specifically, the legislation will put a new focus on preventing contamination before it occurs, a contrast from the current system that is more focused on responding after a food-borne illness outbreak. The measure also requires food producers to generate strategies to prevent contamination and continually test to make sure these strategies are working. Additionally, with an increasing supply of foreign food being imported into the U.S., the measure requires importers to verify that products grown and processed overseas meet U.S. safety standards. Finally, the bill includes provisions to significantly increase the number of inspections of food processing plants that the FDA must conduct, and gives the FDA the authority to recall food, whereas currently, it must rely on food companies to voluntarily pull contaminated products off the shelves.