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FDA gets new powers to regulate food safety

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c7433 (Published 29 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7433
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

The US Congress passed legislation on 19 December giving the US Food and Drug Administration new authority to prevent foodborne outbreaks of illness. President Obama is expected to sign it before the end of the year.

The law changes the FDA’s approach to a prevention strategy rather than reacting to foodborne outbreaks. It is the first expansion of FDA’s power since 1938, when the agency was given authority over food, drugs, and cosmetics.

FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the bill would add new levels of responsibility and accountability to producers and importers in the global food supply chain.

The US has had recent outbreaks of disease from contaminated eggs, spinach, tomatoes, peanut butter, cookie dough, and jalapeno peppers. In the past, …

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