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Modernizing and Rationalizing Food Safety Regulations

The Issue in Brief

The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1907, passed a year after the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, was written to address that generation’s understanding of cleanliness and purity required for safe human consumption of meat. While the meat safety issues of 100 years ago are still relevant, the act has never been updated to reflect what we have since learned about pathogens such as Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, and Listeria monocytogenes. This statutory antiquity endangers the public’s health.

To address this issue, David Vladeck and the O’Neill Institute studied flaws in the current regulatory regime, examining models from other countries, and creating a legislative model for an ideal regulatory regime. As part of that analysis, an expert task force comprised of food safety experts and scholars was convened to identify and address key issues. From this research, the O’Neill Institute developed a comprehensive background paper and several research memoranda.

Related to this work, the O’Neill Institute also developed research memoranda for the Georgetown Produce Safety Project.

Selected Project Resources

O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. 2009. Legal Analysis Examines Limits to Agricultural Marketing Service’s Role in Produce Safety Standards.

O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. 2008. Current Law Provides FDA with Authority to Mandate Safety Standards for Produce.

Thematic Area: Food and Drug Law

Status: Completed

Project Personnel