October 31, 2014 04:01 UTC

Science & Technology

New Rules Aim to Improve US Food Safety

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

American officials have proposed new rules aimed to increase food safety
American officials have proposed new rules aimed to increase food safety

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report in Special English.
 
Each year, bad food sickens about one in six Americans. Proposed new rules aim to improve food safety. Officials say the changes could prevent more than one million cases of food-related illnesses each year.
 
The new rules were proposed this month, exactly two years after President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act. The rules are the first step in putting the law into effect, making the biggest changes in food safety since the 1930s.
 
The law makes the Food and Drug Administration responsible for preventing foodborne illnesses. Experts say this is a change from the role that the FDA has played in the past in reacting to disease outbreaks.
 
Congress passed the law after a series of outbreaks linked to bagged spinach, peanut butter and other foods. Margaret Hamburg is commissioner of the FDA.
 
They occurred because of problems that would have been addressed by these kinds of approaches. So I think, you know, we’re very optimistic that we will begin to see real change.”
 
The agency is proposing to require food manufacturers to show that they have identified where contamination is most likely to happen. Manufacturers would also have to show that they have taken steps to prevent it. The proposed rules also deal with safety in growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables.
 
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that establishing all of the provisions of the law will cost the government $1.4 billion. The Grocery Manufacturers of America, an industry group, has not released an estimate of what it will cost producers.
 
But FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor says the new rules are worth the price.
 
“Even if you just look at estimated reductions in illness, but if you also take into account avoiding disruption of the food supply and the loss of confidence in those commodities by consumers, so I think we’ll see that the benefits substantially outweigh the costs of implementation.”
 
Caroline Smith-DeWaal is director for food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She says the rules should have been released a year ago.
 
 “We’re really happy that the new rules have come out. They’re a little late.”
 
And she notes that they are not finished.
 
 “The bigger question is, where are the rules on imports that haven’t been released yet?”
 
The FDA says about 15 percent of food eaten by Americans is imported, and that share is growing. Rules have not been released yet to require imported foods to meet the same standards as food produced in the United States. But the agency says they are coming soon.
 
The rules released this month will not go into effect for more than a year. Final versions will be announced after the agency considers public comments. And experts point out that Congress will need to approve money to enforce the new rules.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lisa from: HCM City, VN
01/17/2013 8:31 AM
When such kind of this rule can be applied in VN?!


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
01/16/2013 4:50 PM
The Americans are lucky enough to have an FDA and other official and unofficial agencies to ensure the quality of the food they eat. In south india such agencies are inactive and playing into the hands of the trades man. When money motivation gains the upper hand, human values goes deep down. Agencies and authorities should wake up from their slumber to ensure the quality of the food their citizens eat. Thanking you.


by: jazminetwo from: canada
01/15/2013 8:35 PM
Thanks
I'm glad that I found it


by: Marcos from: Brazil
01/15/2013 3:27 PM
Good news! I think this rule should happen across the planet! Stop with the poor quality of food!


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
01/15/2013 11:32 AM
I think this proposed act is very American as it seems very practical. It is true nothing is more effective than prevention. I agree food manufacturerers should take account any contaminations and should take measures preventing incidences before sellimg products as possible as they can. But I am afraid the incidences might not decrease in number because incidences are incedences as they are not always predictable. I am also afraid this act would accelerate consumer's claim aginst food manufacturers like motorcycle riders who get injured by traffic accidents acuse road maintenance makers of the hollow of the road. I suppose consumers aloso should take some resposibilities for food linked illnesses. Those who chose and buy foods are no one but themselves.

Learn with The News

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Ghana Bamboo Bike

    Video Ghana's Bamboo Bikes Hit the Streets

    Bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. But in rural Ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo. The wooden bike parts are sent Ghana to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. | As It Is More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

  • Believer Benito Martinez (C), dressed as a "devil" wearing a mask, walks around in Almonacid del Marquesado, in central Spain, during the "Endiablada" traditional festival, Feb. 3, 2014.

    Audio A Halloween Special: The Devil is Everywhere ...

    Today we take you to the Dark Side. (insert evil laugh here) We teach expressions that involve the king of evil – the devil. Read on to learn how to “speak of the devil”, “to play devil’s advocate” and to ”make a deal with the devil.” | Words and Their Stories More

  • Orbital Sciences Antares Launch

    Video Questions for NASA after Rocket Explosion

    An unmanned privately-owned rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after launch Tuesday night. The accident did not cause any injuries on the ground. However, it has raised questions about efforts by the US space agency NASA to use private companies. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. But that ended one day in 1875. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs