Food control jurisdictions in the US use the Food Code, a regulatory document that includes guidelines and recommendations concerning standard food safety procedures. The code is published by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Authorities within each state have their specific regulations, which however, need to correspond to the national food safety standards. Of the 56 states, 48 have adopted their own Food Codes.
In December 2010, Congress passed a new food safety law. The new focus is prevention of contamination rather than finding specific ways to deal with its aftermath.
The new document is called FDA Food Safety Modernization act and is seen as a major shift in terms of food safety legislation.
The act focuses on prevention, as already mentioned, since 48 million people in the US suffer from a disease or a condition that resulted from the consumption of contaminated or unsafe foods.
Prevention-based control is introduced for the first time. FDA is given the authority to monitor the manner in which businesses involved in the food industry introduce preventive practices and measures to minimize the chance of contamination.
FDA is also given the responsible task of documenting and selecting the safest practices for the production and collection of agriculture products. The aim of these standardized practices is to once again decrease the chance of contamination.
According to new regulations, companies are responsible for preventive practices and will be held accountable for any problems and health hazards connected to the lack of such standard procedures.
Control is to be implemented through FDA inspections. FDA is also given the power to inspect and analyze imported food products, which may also be connected to certain health risks.
The new act provides FDA with additional important powers. The regulatory body is now granted the authority to recall any food product deemed dangerous.
Regulations are also focusing on the interaction of regulatory authorities on national, state and local level. The aim of these partnerships is to provide better control and training, as well as to increase the capacity of labs and programs operating in the sphere of food safety.
The modernization act is seen as the most innovative and radical form of food safety law correction since 1938. Through stricter policies and harsher penalties, it aims to increase control and maximize the safety of all consumers.
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