The food safety bill

Tuesday, November 30, 2010; 8:33 PM

The food safety legislation is designed to prevent food from being contaminated, a departure from the current system, which relies on the government to track down tainted food after illness has occurred. Among other things, the measure:

l Would require farmers and food manufacturers to put in place controls to prevent bacteria and other pathogens from contaminating food.

l Would require the Food and Drug Administration to regularly inspect all food facilities, with more frequent inspections in higher risk facilities.

l Would allow the FDA to order a mandatory recall of any product it suspects may harm public health.

l Would improve disease surveillance, so that outbreaks of food poisoning can be discovered more quickly.

l Would require farmers and food-makers to maintain distribution records so that the FDA can more quickly trace an outbreak to its source.

l Would require foreign food suppliers to meet the same safety standards as domestic food-makers.

l Would exempt small farmers and food processors.

l Would add 17,800 new FDA inspectors by 2014.

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