November 28, 2014 13:19 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

  • Audio North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

  • New members of the Afghan National Army attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2014.

    Audio US Says Military Operations in Afghanistan Remain the Same

    Also in the news, India-Pakistan tensions remain at a major South Asia conference in Kathmandu, Nepal; Hong Kong police arrest student leaders and clear streets around Mong Kok; The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of Colombia frees two soldiers to restart peace talks with the government. More

  • Video Thanksgiving, a Traditional American Holiday

    Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The month of November comes in autumn, the main season for harvesting crops. Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest festival like those found in many cultures. It is viewed as the most traditional of all American holidays. More

  • A flock of 30-pound tom turkeys mill around in the barn at  Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen, Mass.,Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. The 60-acre farm expects to sell about 9,000 turkeys this holiday season.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Audio Turkey: A Case of Mistaken Identity

    Many think the bird comes from the nation of Turkey. But turkey is not from Turkey. In fact, the fact that the turkey bird is called by that name is one big mistake. Find out in today's Words and Their Stories. More

Featured Stories

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. | The Making of a Nation More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs