The Food and Drug Administration released new rules Friday that aim to make sure the imported fruits and vegetables we eat is clean and safe.
Before the rules went into affect the FDA waited for outbreaks to occur and then acted. That process has proven to be deadly on many occasions and was in need of help from an major overhaul.
The new rules require importers and producers to make sure the food is clean, and provide for outside auditors to check into procedures at foreign food suppliers.
Dr. Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods says, “The recent multistate outbreak of Salmonella in imported cucumbers that has killed four Americans, hospitalized 157 and sickened hundreds more, is exactly the kind of outbreak these rules can help prevent.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that germs in food make 48 million Americans sick every year. Nearly 128,000 are made sick enough to be hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses.
In many cases the source of outbreaks is often never identified.