We rarely inspect most food processing plants, and far less frequently on average than we inspect our local restaurants. We do little to prevent food-borne illness, and spend billions on too-little-too-late recall efforts. Recalls are voluntary, even when food is clearly making people sick. Most consumers never even hear about them.
Give food safety laws a much-needed update. Instead of spending time and taxpayer money chasing bad food off the market, the new law would focus on prevention:
- Companies making high-risk food would be required to turn over to the FDA any results showing contamination in their products;
- Companies would have to develop and adhere to methods for keeping their food as safe as possible;
- High-risk facilities would be inspected at least once every year; and
- Food recalls would be mandatory, not voluntary
As The Washington Post editorialized Sunday: “All of these provisions (in the House bill) make sense. What's needed is action in the Senate. We understand that its docket is full, but leaders must find a way to make passage a priority before the next food-borne outbreak demonstrates anew how ill-equipped government is to respond.”