1. Worried About Food Safety? You’re Not Alone…

    “According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one in six people suffer a food-borne illness in the United States each year. Sweeping new rules proposed by the FDA in January are intended to reduce the amount of contaminated food reaching consumer tables.” (Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire

    You are what you eat, goes the saying. And, thanks to regulations recently proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, what you eat should become less likely to make you ill. 

    The FDA’s new rules are part of a broader movement in the agency to make the country’s food supply safer for, well, human consumption. Spurred in large part by the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act more than two years ago, the agency has finally begun to respond to key risks to the nation’s food supply.

    What is the FDA looking at? 

    1. Contaminated food:

    “The goal of the [new food safety] regulations is to prevent foodborne illnesses before they cause harm. As a reaction to recent outbreaks of Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, the proposed framework broadens the authority of the FDA to regulate food on farms and shifts the FDA’s focus on food safety to prevention as opposed to investigations after an outbreak occurs. The FDA estimates that one in six Americans falls ill as a result of a foodborne illness each year, resulting in 130,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.” (Womble Carlyle

    2. Food-related allergies:

    “Over the past several years, consumers have no doubt seen an increase in ‘gluten-free’ representations on food labels and restaurant menus. But what does ‘gluten-free’ really mean and why is it important? After years of research and public comment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will finally weigh in on the issue. Its proposed ‘gluten-free’ label requirements are currently under review by the White House, with final action expected later this month.” (Morrison & Foerster

    3. Imported food:

    “The FDA estimates 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is currently imported. A third [food safety] rule, not yet developed, will address safety and audit standards for food produced outside the country for the American market.” (Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire

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    The growing regulation of the foods we eat doesn’t mean we are entirely out of the woods, however. Or the water, write June Campbell and Paul Swanson of law firm Lane Powell:

    “Americans should be concerned about widespread fish mislabeling. It is likely the most prevalent form of economic adulteration in the United States.  The seafood scandal plays off the inability of many consumers to distinguish between such things as farm-raised from wild-caught salmon. A recent nationwide study conducted by Oceana, a non-profit group, tested over 1,200 samples of fish purchased in grocery stores, fish markets, sushi bars and restaurants.  The study found that approximately one-third of the seafood sold nationwide is not what it purports to be.”

    Maybe I’ll just have the salad.

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    The updates:

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    Find additional legal commentary on Food Safety developments at the FDA on JD Supra Law News»

Notes

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