New FDA modernization bill hopes to prevent food recalls - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New FDA modernization bill hopes to prevent food recalls

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A massive egg recall has a company calling for better food regulations. A non-profit company says the Food and Drug Administration needs to do more to make sure residents aren't getting sick from the food we eat.

By now, we have all heard of the massive egg recall that affected Wisconsin residents and millions other across the nation. But did you hear of the 53 other products pulled from your grocery store shelves?

According to the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, or WISPIRG, our state has already seen 54 food recalls involving salmonella in the last 14 months. That's just in Wisconsin.

"The CDC estimates every year about 76 million Americans, that's one if every four of us, gets sick from eating some sort of contaminated food," says Kyle Bailey, with WISPIRG.

WISPIRG is hoping that doesn't  happen anymore.

"The FDA right now just simply doesn't have the power to order mandatory recalls when they do find a problem with food. This responsibility is still left in the hands of private companies, who often wait to issue recalls until they're forced to by a rising number of illnesses, or deaths, or bad publicity," says Bailey.

A bill in the U.S. Senate is hoping to change that.

"What this bill would do is it would allow the FDA to improve their standards and have more inspectors and resources that they could detect food problems with safety before tons and tons of food goes out onto store shelves," says Bailey.

Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, says it's all about preventative measures.

"The USDA's approach to this is preventative. We try to prevent problems from occurring before they occur, which is why we have inspectors in plants, and why we can, in essence, shut down a plant by not giving it our seal of approval," says Vilsack.

The bill will increase the power the FDA has over food processors in the country.

"It will modernize it's approach, and will allow it to transition from a reactive enterprise to a preventative enterprise," says Vilsack.

Hopefully preventing any more massive recalls in the state, and across the country.

The FDA bill has yet to reach the Senate floor. A similar bill was passed by the House of representatives last year.

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