Factors for Increasing Food-Borne Illnesses and Efforts to Rectify the Problem

Factors for Increasing Food-Borne Illnesses and Efforts to Rectify the Problem

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What’s the Issue?

In the last decade, there have been numerous outbreaks of food-borne illnesses that that range from mild symptoms to life-threatening situations such as death. Some popular pathogens include salmonella, norovirus, and E. coli to name a few. There has been an immediate need for a proper food safety management system to prevent further illnesses. The severity of these pathogens and the increase of occurrence have led the nation to evaluate the current food safety system. The nations latest food safety management act was the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FDA, 2014). With increased numbers of food borne illnesses, and a lack of proper food safety management, the Food Safety Modernization Act was signed and passed in the house on January 4, 2011. There were measures that needed to be changed to prevent further mismanagement of contaminated foods.

This brief discusses the many major changes that will be seen regarding food safety management and the potential it has to protect the nation. However, a number of potential issues have been identified and the need for discussion and change will have to be addressed. The FSMA has given a lot of power over to the FDA to mandate food safety and prevention. The FDA has the authority over 80% of the US food supply, whereas the USDA regulates most meat, poultry, and egg products However, the USDA has not been addressed in the FSMA and they are in charge of handling meat, poultry and eggs. Also with all the mandatory regulations and checks for food distribution and too many groups still in charge of managing these entities causes miscommunication and lack of cohesiveness. There is also the question in regards to how this will be funded since there are many mo...

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...e number of inspectors and resources required by the FDA.

Some other equally important changes worth mentioning are the mandatory recalls the FDA has the power to initiate. The FDA can immediately cease distribution of the food (FDA, section 206). FDA will provide the responsible party an opportunity for a hearing within 2 days. A Failure to comply with FDA’s mandates will be subject to civil penalties (FDA, 206.

What’s the debate?
There is much debate regarding the feasibility of this new act. Although it sounds proactive and effective, there are certain gaps that we must look at and discuss in order for this act to become successful. One major difficulty is the deadline imposed on the FDA to create 50 rules, guidance documents, reports and studies within a strict timeframe (FDA, 2013).(http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/ucm247556.htm)

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