Much Needed Food Regulations May be on the Way

Recalls of tainted food seem to be an ever increasing phenomenon. In January there was a massive recall of ground beef products. As reported in USA Today, a California meat-packing company recalled 864,000 pounds of beef due to fears it had been contaminated with E. coli.

In another case, as reported by ABC News, there was a nationwide salmonella outbreak that sickened people across 40 states. The outbreak is believed to be linked to contaminated pepper that coated the salami. In late January, Daniele International, the company that manufactured the salami, recalled over 1.2 million pounds of the product.

Also in January, a Minnesota company, Parker’s Inc., recalled “peanut butter, cheese, salsa, and other foods from a long list of major food retailers” due to listeria contamination (via WebMD).

Fortunately, more protection for consumers is just around the corner. As Walter Olson aptly notes at over at Point of Law, the upcoming year will likely prove to be significant in the area of food liability and regulatory changes.

Ken Odza at the Food Liability Blog predicts that Congress will pass a new food safety legislation:

Nobody doubts that we’re in the midst of the most significant legislative and regulatory changes in food safety in generations. Most believe that Congress will pass some form of food safety legislation (e.g., S 510 or HR 2749) in the new year. It will likely include the most comprehensive food safety reform in decades. Among other things, this legislation is likely to give FDA mandatory recall power and great authority for risk-based inspections, and require FDA to create a traceability program.

The number of recent recalls of tainted food products is evidence that this is an ever-increasing problem. Consumers deserve to be protected from tainted food products and stronger governmental oversight of our food supply only makes sense.