Food Safety

December 17, 2010 • Volume 20, Issue 44
Would new legislation make the food supply safer?
By Peter Katel


A USDA medical officer checks eggs (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Stephen Ausmus)
A USDA medical officer checks eggs for salmonella bacteria. Massive health violations by Iowa egg processors led to salmonella contamination that sickened at least 1,600 people nationwide this year and sparked the biggest egg recall in U.S. history. (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Stephen Ausmus)

Your food can kill you. Every year, about 3,000 Americans die from salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, and an estimated 48 million are sickened. Recent scandals over abysmal sanitary conditions in food processing plants that led to large disease outbreaks in eggs and peanuts have pushed Congress to overhaul the food-safety system for all foods except meat and poultry. A last-minute hitch, however, has left the fate of that bipartisan legislation uncertain, despite support from an unusual alliance of industry and consumer advocates. If it wins enactment, advocates may push for revamping meat regulation. Far more disagreement exists on the controversial genetic frontier of food safety. Scientists can now genetically modify fruits and vegetables as well as livestock and other food animals. But debate over the safety of genetic modification among lawmakers, food safety officials, consumer groups and the food industry shows no sign of quieting down.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Food Safety
Sep. 03, 2021  Food Security
Sep. 25, 2020  The Future of Meat
Feb. 15, 2019  Fast-Food Shakeout
Jun. 16, 2017  Food Labeling
Oct. 03, 2014  Food Policy Debates
Aug. 31, 2012  Genetically Modified Food
Dec. 17, 2010  Food Safety
Jan. 26, 2007  Slow Food Movement
Nov. 01, 2002  Food Safety
Mar. 30, 2001  Biotech Foods
Sep. 04, 1998  Food Safety Battle: Organic Vs. Biotech
Jun. 04, 1993  Food Safety
Jun. 12, 1992  Food Irradiation
Nov. 08, 1991  Fast-Food Shake-up
Nov. 18, 1988  How Safe Is Your Food?
Dec. 11, 1981  Controversy Over Salt in Food
Dec. 08, 1978  Fast Food: U.S. Growth Industry
May 12, 1978  Food Additives
Dec. 26, 1969  Food Additives
Dec. 04, 1968  Synthetic Foods
Jan. 20, 1960  Food Safeguards
Feb. 09, 1952  Chemicals in Foods
Dec. 18, 1934  Revision of the Pure Food and Drugs Act