The FDA recently released new rules that are designed to prevent large-scale, deadly outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as those that have been linked to fresh cucumbers, spinach, and cantaloupes in recent years. The rules have been long-awaited by those in the food industry. The new rules will be phased in over several years, and give the FDA sweeping new oversight over how food is grown.
The new rules require importers to be more accountable for the safety of food that they bring in to the U.S. Workers are now also required to be trained to wash their hands. Irrigation water will be monitored for harmful bacteria. There are also rules in place to prevent animals from leaving droppings in fields.
Most farmers and food manufacturers already follow good safety practices. The rules are intended to focus on prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people, or one in six, are sickened each year from foodborne illnesses. About 3,000 of those people die as a result of the illness.
In years past, the FDA has not had such broad authority to oversee how food is grown. The regulations have been written to cover foods and growing methods that have the greatest risk. They target product such as berries, leafy greens, melons, and other fruits and vegetables that are normally eaten raw and are more prone to contamination. Farms that produce foods that are going to be cooked and canned are not regulated. There are also exemptions in the rules for smaller farms.
When a consumer does get a foodborne illness, and it can be proven that the illness is the fault of the farm or food processing plant, the consumer can recover compensation for the illness from the responsible business. It’s important to speak with an attorney. If you’re in Houston, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at 855-947-0707. You can also learn more about us on LinkedIn.