Expanding FDA Inspections: New Legislation Promises Expanded Food Safety Inspection Nationwide
US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is introducing new legislation that will enhance food safety investigations throughout the nation. The Expanded Food Safety Inspection Act, focuses on expanding The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to allow the organization to better investigate all plausible connections to a food borne outbreak. As of now, the FDA is completely limited to only investigating the farm or factory where an outbreak is reported and does not allow for further investigating of a possible contamination from an outside source.
An example of this could be: if a produce farm tested positive for e. coli, the FDA would be allowed to test the produce farm in its entirety to rid the produce and farm’s equipment of e. coli. It would not be able to investigate the animal farm across the street to see if it was the cause of the contamination or to contain the outbreak source.
“Foodborne illness makes tens of millions of Americans sick every year, and it is vital we work to prevent it and stop it from spreading,” Gillibrand said. “I’m proud to announce the Expanded Food Safety Inspection Act, which would allow the FDA to fully investigate the sources of foodborne illness outbreaks. This would help stop the spread of the disease and help prevent future outbreaks. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and help improve food safety.”
The Expanded Food Safety Inspection Act would not only allow the FDA the jurisdiction to better investigate foodborne illnesses, it would also facilitate better alignment of local, state and federal health officials. Better communication between the FDA, local and state health officials, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should “help eliminate sources of contamination directly, decrease the chances of repeated outbreaks within the same region, and facilitate the quick recall of dangerous food products.”