October 25, 2014 03:28 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 Wealth, Poverty Are Issues in Hong Kong Protests

    The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are mainly about the right to vote without interference from China’s central government. But there are at least two other less talked-about issues. One is concern about the rising cost of living in Hong Kong. Another is the gap between rich and poor. More

  • Texas Voter ID

    Audio US Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law

    The United States Supreme Court says the southwestern state of Texas can keep in place a new voting law. The law says voters must show identification documents before they are permitted to mark ballots. A lower court had ruled that the law could keep minorities from voting. More

  • President Barack Obama hugs Dallas nurse Nina Pham as her mother Diane looks on, Oval Office, Washington, Oct. 24, 2014.

    Audio In US, Fear of Ebola Spreads Faster than Virus

    For Americans, Ebola started out as a disease in a far-away continent. But it changed when a Liberian man died in Dallas. US officials said tests show that a New York doctor has the Ebola virus. The doctor recently treated Ebola patients in Guinea working for Doctors Without Borders. More

  • Brazil Elections

    Audio Who Will Be Brazil's Next President?

    Brazilians will choose a president Sunday. Two candidates will be on the ballot -- Dilma Rousseff and Senator Aecio Neves. President Rousseff won the most votes in the first round of voting earlier this month. But she did not win a majority of votes, so a runoff election is required. More

  • Audio Gunman Identified in Canadian Capital

    Also, UN human rights officials have called on China to guarantee open elections in Hong Kong. And, an attack in southwest Pakistan kills 11 people. WHO advises against Ebola travel bans. | In the News More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Oscar de la Renta Dressed First Ladies and Movie Stars

    Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in the American state of Connecticut. He was 82 years old. His wife said he died of problems related to cancer. Mr. de la Renta dressed American movie stars and first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. More

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs