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New Food Safety Law: A Look at Key Provisions

The U.S. food safety system would be modernized and upgraded -- including better safeguards against foodborne illness cases like the recent nationwide salmonella outbreaks -- under a new law being discussed this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The proposed Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 would lay out the roles and responsibilities of every key player in the nation's food supply chain, from growers to facility operators, health inspectors to lab analysis technicians. The law is being introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-California) and John Dingell (D-Michigan).

What will this new law do to enhance food safety and guard against foodborne illnesses like salmonella infection? Here is a look at some of the key provisions under the proposed Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009:

  • Creates a national registry of all food facilities operating in the U.S., and requires all members to pay fees which will be used for FDA food safety activity.
  • Requires all food facilities to prevent food safety problems by implementing plans that identify and protect against food hazards.
  • Mandates stricter safety plans for fresh produce production and harvesting.
  • Creates an inspection schedule for all food facilities, with higher inspection frequency for high-risk facilities.
  • Improves the FDA's ability to trace the origin of tainted food in cases of foodborne illness outbreaks.

See a Summary Discussion Draft of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

The hope is that tougher federal food safety guidelines will go a long way toward strengthening each link in the nation's food supply chain, to minimize (or avoid altogether) high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks like the ones that led to the recall of thousands of pistachio and peanut products earlier this year.