After an unfortunate sequence of fatal food-borne illness outbreaks involving various food products ranging from peanuts to cookie dough to spinach, a Senate bill, the Food Safety Modernization Act, has recently been approved. However, according to nj.com, even though the bill to refurbish the FDA’s food safety system was unanimously accepted, it may not receive a floor vote until 2010. This may be partly due to the issue of funding for the food safety reform, which would drastically improve and increase Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory powers.
The chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee says the new FDA program may cost almost $4 billion over a period of five years. Considering that the FDA safeguards approximately 80% of the U.S. food supply, which includes imports from over 200 countries, there is no doubt that this bill will greatly help their efforts and is worth the cost.
The reformed safety program would allow the FDA the ability to order a food recall rather than force them to wait for a producer to respond to a recall request. The Senate Bill will also enforce more regulated inspections, especially for high-risk facilities. If passed in 2010, this will be the first major food safety reform since the Great Depression.
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control, every year 76 million Americans suffer from food-borne pathogens and approximately 5,000 die as a result. These statistics should serve as further reason for this bill to pass. In addition, consumers should note that the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates meat. Therefore, the Food Safety Modernization Act would cover a growing number of FDA-regulated foods, but not meat.
At Lependorf & Silverstein, our skilled New Jersey personal injury attorneys have assisted many individuals who have suffered due to a contaminated food product, packaging error, harmful design defect, or a manufacturer’s inability to properly warn of a product’s hazard. If you believe that you have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, contact Lependorf & Silverstein today for a free evaluation. Please call 609-240-0040.