President Obama Signs Historic Food Safety Reform into Law


GROVE CITY, PA, January 4, 2011 – Today President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law and, with that stroke of the pen, ushered in a new approach to food safety for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This historic event represents the first major reform of food oversight at FDA since 1938.


“The Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention is very pleased with the opportunities that this legislation provides to the Food and Drug Administration,” states CFI’s Executive Director Patricia Buck. “We will now need to refocus our energy and work to implement the important provisions outlined in this law – unfortunately, FDA does not currently have sufficient resources to implement the new provisions. In the coming months, Congress and regulatory agencies will need to fulfill its new priorities and find resources to support these new initiatives.”


Specifically, the bill will require FDA, food processors and producers to identify areas of risk so that preventive measures can be implemented. It also requires FDA to inspect the facilities under its jurisdiction more frequently and has provisions to improve food trace- back systems and foodborne illness surveillance efforts. In addition, the bill requires imported food to meet the same standards as domestically produced food.


“Foodborne illness is a serious public health issue,” says Barbara Kowalcyk, CFI’s Director of Food Safety, “and we need this legislation if we hope to meet the food challenges of the 21st century. Given our limited resources, it is imperative that we move towards a risk- based food safety system that focuses on prevention and improving public health. This new legislation is a first step in moving toward such a system.”