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New rules “go to the heart” of food safety problems

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Consumers Union: New rules “go to the heart” of food safety problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released two long-awaited proposed rules to improve food safety, one aimed at produce safety and one to raise standards for food processors to prevent deadly contaminations.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, praised the action.  Once the rules are enacted, they would implement key provisions of the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act, a federal law championed by CU and other safety organizations to bring outdated food-safety rules into the 21st century.

Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, said, “We look forward to analyzing FDA’s proposals.  These rules really go to the heart of the problems we’ve had with food safety in recent years.  The produce rule should take aim at serious problems like the 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach, which caused several deaths.  The ‘preventive control’ rule should help put a stop to incidents like the salmonella outbreaks at the Peanut Corporation of America in 2009, which killed nine people, and the Sunland plant last year, which left hundreds of people sick.”

Ami Gadhia, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, said, “Under the old rules, we’ve been reacting to food contaminations after they happened.  The goal here is to prevent deadly outbreaks before people get hurt.  We’re anxious to dive deep into these proposed rules so we can review and comment on the details.”

In praising today’s action, Consumers Union also urged the federal government to release still-pending proposals that relate to food imports and pet-food safety.

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, or Kara Kelber, kkelber@consumer.org202-462-6262.