FDA Releases Two Major Food-Safety Rules

We're sorry honeydew, but we cantaloupe.
We're sorry honeydew, but we cantaloupe. Photo: JOEL NITO/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today introduced two new proposals designed to improve the organization’s effectiveness to respond to outbreaks of food-borne illness, calling them the “most sweeping changes to the nation’s food protection system since Theodore Roosevelt held office.” The first rule requires manufacturers to develop robust in-house protocols for preventing food contamination and to keep detailed records that would aid the agency when illnesses are reported. The second rule is meant to prevent contamination of fruits and vegetables at farms, fields, and orchards by requiring producers to have stronger food-safety controls like sanitary on-site outhouses for workers, for example. These things may seem simple and self-explanatory, but they’re not: Food-safety advocates argue that the scope of the cantaloupe-related listeria outbreak of 2011 that caused more than a dozen deaths could have been mitigated, for example, if more concise protocols had been in place at the point of production and distribution. [NYT, Earlier]