Ten years ago, one of the most extensive food recalls in the U.S. forced more than 360 companies to recall more than 3,900 peanut products across 46 states. One company, the Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) was the cause in what eventually became one of the most massive and lethal foodborne contamination cases in the U.S., killing nine and sickening thousands.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in 2011, was enacted in large part in response to the PCA recall. FSMA shifted the focus to preventing outbreaks rather than just reacting to them. The law requires that companies implement best practices to prevent hazards that may be introduced as part of the manufacturing or packaging process.
Despite the advent of FSMA, food safety in the U.S. continues to be an issue. The recent romaine lettuce recalls have sickened hundreds. There have been bats found in bags of salad and golf ball remains identified in frozen hash browns. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 48 million Americans get sick each year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die due to foodborne illnesses.