New rules, which take effect later this month, are the latest part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. The legislation is designed to prevent one or more of 250 foodborne illness. The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
The CDC does not break out the underlying health status of people with foodborne illnesses, but those of us in the chronic illness community know how badly a tainted food can affect us.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has new authority to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed. It also allows the agency to recall produce. Federal produce safety rules for large farms go into effect on Jan. 26th and are the biggest changes to fresh produce growing in 70 years.
Here’s a report from Wisconsin Public Radio.
“It is a big change. One of the big parts is that it puts foreign suppliers on the same playing field as local growers,” said Shawn Bartholomew, produce program and policy supervisor at the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Rules Mandate Pathogen Testing
The rules restrict when and how raw manure can be applied to fields and require testing for pathogens in water used to rinse fruits and vegetables. In past years this water was identified as a prime source of contamination, but water rules won’t take effect until 2020.
Although the regulations will start in a matter of days, Wisconsin state agriculture officials say enforcement will not begin in earnest until 2019. It will begin with a large farm selling more than $500,000 of produce sales annually. The following year, farms with at least $250,000 in sales will have to comply. And by 2021, rules take effect for small farms with sales of more than $25,000.
The most common symptoms of foodborne diseases are nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. However, symptoms may differ among the different types of foodborne diseases. Symptoms can sometimes be severe and some foodborne illnesses can even be life-threatening. This is especially true for those of us who have a weakened immune system, have an underlying health condition or are elderly (and likely have both criteria).
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