It has not escaped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) attention that as much as 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from foodborne diseases each year. That’s 1 in 6 Americans, and the number is alarming. That is why the agency has finished finalizing the rules that will help implement the new bipartisan Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
According to the FDA, the goal of the FSMA is to be able to develop enforceable safety standards for produce farms while also holding food importers accountable in making sure that imported food would meet U.S. safety standards. Moreover, it is also hoped that this act will help prevent problems before they even happen. This year alone, several food recalls have been done due to possible contamination by salmonella, listeria and e. colli. Moreover, other food products have been recalled due to lack of inspection or undeclared allergens.
With the significant number of bacterial outbreaks resulting from tainted food products, there are as much as 128,000 hospitalizations related to these food issues each year. Moreover, the said outbreaks result in 3,000 annual deaths. In fact, a recent outbreak of salmonella from imported cucumbers led to four American deaths as well as 157 hospitalizations. Hundreds more have reportedly gotten sick. FDA Deputy Commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine Michael R. Taylor says that the new rules will help prevent such deadly outbreaks from happening again.
Among the rules in FDA’s FSMA are rules about product safety, foreign supplier verification and accredited third-party certification. The FDA says that it has finalized five of the seven major rules at the heart of the FSMA.