(Mirror Daily, United States) – FDA releases new safety regulations for produce in order to better prevent outbreaks of disease. The new safety regulations issued by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday aim to regulate the growth of fresh produce in order to prevent large-scale outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
Many foodborne diseases have been traced back to produce like cucumbers, fresh spinach and cantaloupes in the past decade and the new FDA regulations are meant to ensure that produce growers are following several important steps in order to avoid the spread of such diseases.
New precaution measures include workers being trained to wash their hands when working with produce, monitoring the irrigation water in order to verify it does not contain harmful bacteria and ensuring that animals do not leave their droppings on fields where produce is growing. The new rules will go into effect over the course of the next few years and help the FDA have more oversight over how farms grow their food.
The new regulations were drafted in an effort to focus more on the prevention of foodborne illness outbreaks as quite a few cases of significant such outbreaks have been recorded in the United States within the last decade. According to and estimation made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 6 Americans become sick because of a foodborne illness every year and approximately 3000 people die every year in the country due to such illnesses.
Aside from the effort to better monitor food growth in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has also drafted a series of regulations meant to impose more accountability on importers who bring food into the U.S. and ensure that the imported food that is being sold on the U.S. market is safe.
Many outbreaks related to both imported and homegrown produce have been recorded in the United States in recent years. An outbreak of salmonella was linked to cucumber imported from Mexico and caused more than 700 people to fall ill and 4 people to die. An e-coli outbreak back in 2006 was caused by contaminated irrigation water used to water fresh spinach.
With many such cases surfacing in recent years the new FDA regulations mark a new chapter in the monitoring of produce growth in the country, as the organization has never had such a broad authority to oversee the growth of food on farms before. The new rules have been praised by food safety advocates and are set to be introduced gradually over the next few years.
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