FDA Says New Rules Will Improve Food Safety

Agency issues two, with more on the way

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 4, 2013 3:43 PM CST

(Newser) – The FDA has issued two new rules that it and food safety advocates say will make the nation's food supply much safer. They govern the handling of processed foods (like peanut butter) and fruits and vegetables, reports USA Today, which calls this "the most sweeping overhaul of food safety in 70 years." That's the general tone of coverage, with the New York Times saying the rules "represent a sea change" in how the agency operates and the AP describing them as "the most sweeping in decades." But the rules themselves seem a little ... basic, with an emphasis on hygiene, clean working areas, and better record-keeping:

  • Food processing: "The first rule would require manufacturers of processed foods sold in the United States to identify, adopt and carry out measures to reduce the risk of contamination," says the Times. "Food companies also would be required to have a plan for correcting any problems that might arise and for keeping records that FDA inspectors could use for audit purposes."

  • Fruits and vegetables: The "rules would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, to include making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields," says AP.
Still, proponents say they would have saved lives and made recent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses much less severe had they been on the books. Three more rules are on the way. You can dig into more specifics at the FDA website.

This 2011 file photo shows cantaloupes rotting in the afternoon heat on a field near Holly, Colo.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
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