FDA proposes new food safety rules

Jan. 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The Obama administration says it wants the produce industry to meet new safety standards and come up with detailed plans to ensure its products are safe to eat.

The proposed rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are the result of legislation U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law two years ago and mark the first proposed major overhaul of the country's food-safety regulations in more than 70 years.

"The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a common sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an FDA release Friday.

The proposed regulations released Friday would include enforceable standards to prevent contamination during the growing and harvesting of produce on farms throughout the United States and would require U.S. producers to present formal plans to keep food-borne illnesses out of their products.

"These two rules are the heart and soul of the law," Sandra Eskin, director of the Food Safety Campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts, told The Washington Post. "These are the priorities. Everything else flows from them."

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