New FDA rule on food poisoning

Meat and poultry aren’t included in the rule since they’re regulated by the USDA, not the FDA

Millions of people get sick each year from contaminated food, and finding the source of the contamination isn’t easy ... But that could be changing.

We’re working for you to break down a new plan aimed at reducing the number.

No matter how hard he tries, Elliot Weiler will never forget that time he had salmonella.

“It just really kind of like knocks you out in a way that — at least for me — had never happened before,” Weiler said.

Every year an estimated 48 million Americans get sick from bacteria and viruses in their food.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is trying to reduce the number of illnesses with its food traceability rule — which covers foods through their entire supply chain.

“This new record-keeping process is going to mean that everyone who touches the food, from the grower who grows it to the supermarket who sells it, the restaurant that serves it, is going to have to keep track of the food in the exact same way,” Trisha Calva with Consumer Reports said.

That means assigning a code to potentially riskier foods – those prone to contamination — such as soft cheeses, eggs, leafy greens, nut butter, and tomatoes — so they can be tracked more efficiently.

“In some cases, this new rule may make it even easier for food to be identified as potentially harmful before it even hits the market and gets into the hands of consumers,” Calvo said.

Meat and poultry aren’t included since they’re regulated by the USDA, not the FDA. Consumer Reports said the new plan isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what’s currently in place.

“Right now, record-keeping of this type is incomplete and inconsistent. So this will standardize everything and it will make it easier for people to follow the food back,” Calvo said.

Something Weiler is looking forward to.

“If it could prevent future cases of food poisoning, that’s a win-win for everybody,” Weiler said.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.