Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

January 6, 2013

Long overdue

New FDA rules would help make our food safer

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing new food safety rules that, had they been put into effect in a timely fashion years ago, would have prevented thousands of deaths and kept countless people from being sickened.

Each year, often-deadly outbreaks of foodborne illness are caused by unsafe handling of products like peanuts, cheese, fruits and vegetables. Although many producers follow safe handling procedures, some do not

Listeria in cantaloupes caused 33 deaths in 2011, and FDA inspectors found pools of dirty water and old, dirty processing equipment at the farm where they were grown.

Last year, 42 cases of salmonella were caused by contaminated peanut butter. Inspectors discovered a production plant where birds flew over uncovered trailers of peanuts and employees did not wash their hands.

The new regulations would force producers to address those things. The FDA would be authorized to perform more surprise inspections and shut down food facilities, and stricter standards would be imposed on imported food. The FDA said it also will propose rules designed to make importers verify that imported food is safe and perform improved food safety audits overseas.

Food safety advocates say the rules would turn the FDA from an agency that responds after the fact to outbreaks of illness to one that actually prevents food contamination.

We shouldn’t look for immediate improvements. The rules won’t take effect until after a 120-day comment period, and farms may be given more than two years to come into compliance.

The rules proposed Friday actually were authorized by Congress in 2011, but were delayed by the Obama administration until after the election. Farmers and producers opposed the rules, and food safety advocates had to sue to win their release.

It may not occur to us to think that politics can affect even our food safety, but apparently it does.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Open data Open data

    Maryland state government took a step in the right direction when the General Assembly approved legislation aimed at making spending data more available and searchable to everyone.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo