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Food Safety Modernization Act

There are many layers to the law to reduce food-borne illnesses
Photo courtesy of Michigan State University

Over the years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of food-borne illnesses.

Angela Shaw is an associate professor and Extension outreach specialist at Iowa State University. She says one-in-six Americans get sick every year from what they eat. Forty-six-percent of that is attributed to fruits and vegetables, and nut products. The basic goal of the Food Safety Modernization Act is to reduce the number of cases. It affects everyone from large manufacturers to farmers who raise products for Community Supported Agriculture.

Shaw says many growers are already doing what they’re supposed to, but the big focus is looking at record keeping and training of employees.

"So making sure that you have hand washing stations available, and you have the opportunity to wash tubs and tools. Making sure that the water source, which is a big thing, is safe," says Shaw. "You’re always irrigating so you have potential for if there’s bacteria in that water for it to attach and get onto the produce."

Another area of focus is the use of raw manure.

"There’s been a lot of research that has shown that you need to be treating that or composting it to get rid of the bacteria, otherwise they can live years in a pile that we traditionally thought, it’s going to just die off and nothing’s going to be in there," she says. "So, really what we’re focusing on is just looking at the practices you’re currently doing and saying how can I do it a little bit better."

Regulations have been gradually taking effect since 2015 and will continue through 2024. Shaw says Extension and Outreach across the country is partnering with the FDA to provide support and training.

Learn all about the Food Safety Modernization Act

These are key dates to know for compliance purposes

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