Do We Need FSMA? Says No

Do We Need FSMA? Says No

November 23, 2015

It’s a responsibility carried by the FDA to protect citizens from food borne illness, and meeting that responsibility is what drove the adoption of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but one of the writers at thinks the whole thing is a bit of a waste of time.

Baylen Linnekin, executive director of the Keep Food Legal Foundation and adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School, where he teaches Food Law & Policy, wrote in an article called “The FDA’s New Food Safety Rules Won't Accomplish Much” that the bigger problem in food contamination is food preparation and meat product-sourced contamination (mostly norovirus). Because norovirus is responsible for about 58 percent of domestically-acquired food borne illness, according to the CDC, he wrote that the whole FSMA exercise is a solution with no problem.

Of course, this represents a basic misunderstanding of the goals of the Act. It is aimed at reducing contaminations from overseas sources, and domestic sources, and that reduction can be amount to many millions of cases. Especially if you consider that the main contribution to illness and the second largest to deaths as a result of contaminations in food is produce, which is covered by FSMA.

Image via Pixabay

Linnekin also asserted that because 22 percent of contaminations come from meats (not under FSMA or FDA purview), why bother?

In his article, he provides us with an answer, however: “FDA regulations could prevent, at best, only one out of every five cases, or up to 9.6 million cases of food borne illness.” He seems to be saying that FSMA is regulation for regulation’s sake, and it will serve no purpose.

I say, if it prevents illness in even one of 10 cases, it’s a win. You know, because fewer people die. So there’s that.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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