"Standards Aim To Strengthen Food Safety"

"Listeria in cantaloupes. Salmonella in peanuts. E. coli in spinach. Hepatitis A in green onions. In the past decade a rash of tainted food has resulted in thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths. It has also prompted the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years."

"In 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law after it passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. The law empowers the Food and Drug Administration to regulate about 80 percent of the food supply with the exceptions of meat and poultry. ...

For the first time the FDA has the ability to issue mandatory recalls. The act gives the agency greater inspection power across the food chain, from analyzing irrigation water at produce farms to inspecting processors, manufacturers and distributors ensuring best food safety procedures are in place.

The FDA released the first of the act’s standards in January. The reforms, which remain in the comments phase this month and have yet to be enforced, propose safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. They set standards for water quality, fertilizer, pesticides, worker hygiene and other common sources of produce contamination."

Annabelle Tometich for the Fort Myers News-Press April 6, 2013.

Source: Ft. Myers News-Press, 04/08/2013