The President recently signed the Food Safety Modernization Act. The passage of this legislation set in motion sweeping improvements to the security and safety of our nation’s food supply.

Each year, close to 73 million Americans experience a food borne illness, close to 325,000 are hospitalized and over 5,000 deaths occur.

The historic legislation the President has signed directs the Food and Drug Administration, working with a wide range of public and private partners, to build a new system of food safety oversight – one focused on applying, more comprehensively than ever, the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick.

Processors of all types of food will now be required to evaluate the hazards in their operations, implement and monitor effective measures to prevent contamination, and have a plan in place to take any corrective actions that are necessary. Also, FDA will have much more effective enforcement tools for ensuring those plans are adequate and properly implemented, including mandatory recall authority when needed to swiftly remove contaminated food from the market.

With the signing of the law, FDA will for the first time have a congressional mandate for risk-based inspection of food processing facilities. For example, all high-risk domestic facilities must be inspected within five years of enactment and no less than every three years thereafter.

The legislation significantly enhances FDA’s ability to oversee the millions of food products coming into the United States from other countries each year.

For more information, visit www.foodsafety.gov