Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Senate Passes Food Safety Bill That Would Increase FDA Authority

In a breaking news article today the Senate passed a new food safety bill that gives the Food & Drug Administration more power in making food recalls and inspections on food processing facilities. The intent of the bill is to thwart the outbreaks of contaminated food instead of dealing with the health problems the outbreaks cause after the fact. The FDA will now have the direct power to make food recalls. Before they were only allowed to request that food companies recall their products. They will also increase their number of inspections of food facilities from 7,400 now to 50,000 in 2015. The video with this statistic and other commentary on the bill can be seen here. The FDA can now set standards for how fruits and vegetables are grown abroad along with inspecting foreign food processing plants. The bill covers 80% of the United States food supply, excluding the institutions covered by the Department of Agriculture which consist of slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

I was thrilled to hear that this happened today as I have been following this issue for a couple of weeks now. I think it is a very imperative bill that will go a long way in helping us avoid major food-borne illness outbreaks that we have recently seen. Last year, 1,422 people were sickened by jalapeƱos and another 1,813 people were sickened by eggs this year. The American food system is becoming more harmful to people than ever before. The care for food is declining as the fight for money is mounting to an all-time high. With the increased demand for food, agribusinesses and factory farming has taken over the food system. They are churning out as much food as they can in as little time as possible. Their practices are enhanced by using chemicals and pesticides on plants, fruits, and vegetables or fattening up farm animals via mass corn and grain consumption.

For me, it is nice to see this bill get passed to keep a big portion of the food system more honest. It is scary to think that anyone could consume food that is contaminated at any time and not know it until they become very ill with the potential of dying. Just to play a little devil’s advocate on this article, I would also like to see things go further involving slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. These two types of institutions are (in my mind) so far off track it is only a matter of time before a major outbreak happens. The conditions these animals are slaughtered in are so horrid and vile one cannot begin to imagine the lives these animals have to endure. I would love to see the next step in the changing of the food process aimed directly at these two corrupt institutions. At the moment I could be one of the least supportive people on how food is produced in America. But with conscientious shopping and the passing of this bill I can still catch some sleep at night knowing I am doing my part and government is starting to do theirs. Good night and happy eating!

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