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Food safety bill to be signed by president

One in six Americans gets sick, tens of thousands are hospitalized, and more than 3,000 people die each year in the United States from eating contaminated food.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which will strengthen the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s food safety authority for the first time in 70 years.

"Tonight’s passage of new food safety protections is a historic and long-awaited victory for American consumers, who deserve to trust that the food they bring home from the grocery store and serve to their families won’t make them sick," said Elizabeth Hitchcock, a spokeswoman for U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocacy organization.

The new food safety law will protect consumers by:

• Requiring more frequent inspections of food facilities to make sure they are following the rules.

• Giving the FDA the authority to order a recall of dangerous food.

• Requiring the food manufacturers to have food-safety plans that will prevent contaminated food from reaching consumers.

• Setting responsible standards for produce safety, so parents can have confidence that fresh fruits and vegetables are nutritious and safe to serve to their children.

• Setting standards for imported food to end the practice by foreign producers of dumping unsafe food on the American market.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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