Few things are as important to our daily lives as food safety. We should not have to worry about falling ill because food companies or other organizations failed to adequately protect the safety of our food supply. Our San Francisco food safety law firm is committed to helping people made seriously ill by tainted food to recover compensation from manufacturers, sellers, or anyone else in the supply chain who bore responsibility for the unsafe products.
Consumer advocates and victim’s rights lawyers have long warned that the nation’s laws failed to fully protect Americans from foodborne illnesses. While many companies and industry groups do take steps to ensure product safety, the law lagged behind. One step to improve this system came with the signing of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (“FSMA”) on January 2, 2011. The federal government stated that the intent of the law is to ensure food safety by taking a more proactive role, preventing contamination instead of merely responding to outbreaks of foodborne illness. Through the FSMA, the FDA gained enhanced authority and some new powers. The FDA is also required do engage in rulemaking to produce a number of guidance documents and to prepare strategies, standards, plans, and other important reports.
FDA duties and powers under the FDMA can be broken down into several categories, with a number of components to each:
• Prevention – FDA must create and require mandatory preventative controls for food-related facilities; FDA must establish produce safety standards based on scientific evidence; FDA shall issue regulations aimed at preventing contamination from international sources
• Inspection & Compliance – Requires the FDA to inspect food facilities more often, meeting set frequency requirements based on risk levels; Provides FDA access to certain company safety record; Directs FDA to establish program to accredit laboratories to carry out food testing.
• Response to violations or contamination/illness – Grants the FDA the power to issue a mandatory recall if a company declines to issue a voluntary recall of unsafe food following an FDA request; Creates a more flexible standard to allow the FDA to detain products that may violate the law; Allows FDA to suspend a facility’s registration if the agency finds a reasonable probability the food will cause death or serious negative health consequences; Directs FDA to create an improved system to track and trace foods, both domestic and imported; Requires the FDA issue record-keeping rules for foods designated as high-risk
• Further protections on imported goods – Creates additional rules aimed at ensuring the safety of imported food items.
• Enhanced partnerships – Builds relationships with both domestic and foreign agencies including helping states and localities enhance their own safety systems, creating training for foreign governments and industries, and use the resources of other federal, state, and local agencies to carry out increased responsibilities.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne disease. Food-related illness is never fun, but most illnesses resolve themselves. However, some foodborne illnesses are much more serious or involve a more vulnerable patient. Across the country, 128,000 people are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 die annually from foodborne disease. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious illness due to contaminated food in San Francisco or anywhere in Northern California, please call The Brod Firm. We can help you recover damages from suppliers, manufacturers, and any other party responsible for the contaminated product. Together, we can also help remind the industry that unsafe food will not be tolerated in our community.
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