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New Food Safety Regulations

Food safety advocates have urged regulators to hang tough. “We don’t believe large facilities are the only place where outbreaks are happening,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interestin Washington. Farm-to-fork growers, she said, need to accept that emerging strains of E. coli and other bacteria can just as easily seep into the produce sold at a farmers market as into the batches of salad bagged at giant processing plants, and they need to tweak their methods to protect against it.

“At the end of the day, consumers will be paying a little bit more for this. But a few cents here may help avoid a severe illness,” Smith DeWaal says.

Congress passed the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act amid alarming reports from public health agencies about widespread food contamination. Tens of millions of consumers are sickened by tainted food each year, and some 3,000 die annually as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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