Processing Magazine

Government tightening food safety standards

July 8, 2009
A food safety panel established by President Barack Obama in March has developed new rules for eggs, poultry, beef, leafy greens, melons and tomatoes as well as for better coordination and communication among the agencies overseeing the nation''s food supply, according to the Associated Press. The panel is expected to announce that the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department will adopt the standards, which follow a string of breakdowns in food safety. The special advisory group was created to coordinate antiquated food safety laws and recommend ways to update them.

Under the new rules:
  • The FDA will help the food industry establish better tracing systems to track the origins of a bacterial outbreak.
  • A new network will be established to help the many agencies that regulate food safety to communicate better.
  • Egg and poultry producers will have to follow new standards designed to reduce salmonella contamination.
  • The Food Safety Inspection Service, the Agriculture Department agency that inspects meat, will increase sampling of ground beef ingredients in an effort to better find E. coli contamination.
  • The FDA will recommend ways that producers of leafy greens, melons and tomatoes can reduce disease strains, and require stricter standards in those industries within two years.
  • The FDA and the Agriculture Department also will create new positions to better oversee food safety.
  • The Agriculture Department inspects meat and poultry, and shares inspections of eggs with the FDA. The FDA inspects most other foods, but at least 15 government agencies are a part of the food safety system.