Release Food Safety Rules -- Nearly 35,000 Signatures, One Message, Delivered to White House
On Tuesday, December 11, The Pew Charitable Trusts delivered a petition signed by nearly 35,000 Americans to the White House, urging President Obama to release the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules.
The first major update to the nation’s food safety system since the Great Depression, FSMA signaled a much needed shift in FDA’s approach from reaction to prevention.
Once fully implemented, the law is designed to reduce the number of people put needlessly at risk because of foodborne illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year an estimated 48 million foodborne illnesses, 127,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths result from food contamination. These sometimes life-threatening illnesses are estimated to total more than $70 billion a year in health-related costs.
Since the law was signed by the president, there have been 15 reported multistate outbreaks linked to FDA-regulated products. The deadliest from Salmonella linked to cantaloupe, killed 33, the third-largest food-related death toll ever in U.S. history.
Meanwhile, key provisions of the law, designed to prevent outbreaks such as these, are stuck in regulatory limbo while Americans continue to get sick from preventable foodborne diseases.
Download the letter (PDF)
In 2006, I almost died after eating spinach contaminated with E. coli. I spent nearly a month in and out of multiple emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. When I was able to return home, I had lost nearly 20 percent of my total body weight, and my recovery lasted five additional months of continuous treatment.More info
When you spice up your food, you may be adding filth with flavor, according to a new report by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA found that 12 percent of imported spices are contaminated with insect parts, rodent hairs, animal feces and other debris like twigs, plastic and rubber bands. Nearly 7 percent of the tests turned up Salmonella.More info
Food safety advocates are urging members of a House-Senate conference committee to strike down a pair of GOP-backed amendments to the farm bill now under consideration. The Make Our Food Safe Coalition and the Safe Food Coalition take exception at a pair of measures attached to the House’s version of the legislation, approved in July.More info
The Make our Food Safe Coalition and the Safe Food Coalition sent a letter expressing opposition to actions that would further delay implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to Frank Lucas (R-OK), Chair of Overall Farm Bill Conference. The correspondence, which went to all Farm Bill Conferees as well, voiced concerns specifically with amendments offered by Representative Steve King (R-IA) and Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI).More info
The government shutdown has caused staff reductions at two important federal health agencies, increasing the risk of serious harm to American consumers from food-borne illnesses. The two agencies — the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have decided to focus their remaining resources on imminent threats. But they have shut down very important work that allows them to spot potentially serious problems in advance and take steps to head them off. The longer Congressional Republicans allow the shutdown to continue, the greater the danger of harm.More info
The following Q&A—prepared by the food and medical products programs at The Pew Charitable Trusts–helps explain how the federal government shutdown is affecting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies and departments with responsibility to protect the public’s health.More info
"Six years ago, I learned a painful lesson. I bought Veggie Booty for our triplets, who were 20 months old at the time. That purchase ultimately opened my eyes to the need for better oversight of food that comes from abroad."More info
Consumers across the United States are demanding meat and poultry raised without antibiotics—and large producers, restaurants, and other institutions are listening. Following is a list of some leading companies offering responsibly produced food.More info
"The public will have its first chance Thursday and Friday to weigh in on new federal rules aimed at improving the safety of food imported into the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's first public meeting on imported food safety rules that the agency initially proposed in July is taking place in Washington, D.C."More info
On Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold public hearings in Washington, D.C., on FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) draft rules released earlier this year. The public will also have the opportunity to testify at agency meetings in Chicago and Portland on March 11-12 and March 27-28, respectively.More info
"For three days after Merrill Behnke ate the tainted Italian cheese she felt fine. On the fourth night, Behnke developed an intense headache. She awoke the next morning to severe body pains and a temperature of 102 degrees. A lumbar tap and a CT scan indicated meningitis. A test of her spinal fluid linked the illness to Listeria, a rare but deadly bacterium. Behnke, 31, will recount her bout with food poisoning in Washington, D.C., Thursday at a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing on how to ensure that foods from abroad are safe."More info
"As we have become a nation of aspirational gourmets, we like to import our coffee beans, cheeses and wines. We want them to be exotic, connoting adventure and an appreciation for the extraordinary. Thanks to globalization, an increasing number of less-fancy foods are imported, too. But there is a problem with this bounty. We want to eat well and not die of food poisoning."More info