Other Voices - The Packer

Other Voices

01/11/2013 09:22:00 AM
The Packer staff

On Jan. 4, the Food and Drug Administration proposed two food safety rules that would implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Obama signed two years earlier.

Below are comments from other media about the food safety rules.

Finally, an update to food safety rules

The Denver Post — editorial, Jan. 9

What took you so long, FDA?

New food safety standards have been years in the making, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally released new regulations last week.

It hardly seems revolutionary to require farm workers who handle fruits and vegetables to wash their hands. Or to prohibit farm animals from going into fields where produce is grown. Or require processing equipment is clean.

Yet food safety requirements in this country were so far behind the times, it actually is a big change. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress in 2010, was the first overhaul of the rules in more than 70 years.

To be sure, the new regulations won’t pose huge challenges for the best actors in food production — they’ve already adopted many of these practices of their own volition. But not all have. In recent years, the nation has grappled with a litany of tainted foods that have caused serious illness and death. Spinach, peanut butter, eggs and cantaloupe have all been implicated.

Late better than never for new food safety rules

The Philadelphia Inquirer — editorial, Jan. 10

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed the most sweeping changes in food safety rules in decades. The changes being made under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which became law in 2011, are long overdue and should be implemented as soon as possible.

If adopted, the new rules would require farmers to take common-sense precautions against food contamination by making sure workers wash their hands, irrigation water is clean, and animals are kept out of fruit and vegetable fields.

Also, a food safety plan would be required for food manufacturers as evidence that efforts are being made to keep their operations clean.

Abiding by the new rules could cost large farms about $30,000 a year and manufacturers up to $475 million annually, the FDA said.

The changes also should help the FDA operate much better, taking it from an agency that reacts to food crises to a proactive operation that can prevent contamination from occurring.

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