I don’t think food safety has been a top priority for Obama simply because it isn’t a top priority for most Americans. Though there are sometimes horror stories in the media like the deadly cantaloupe incident that struck this year, most Americans aren’t too concerned with what they’re eating because they’re not seeing any visible instant consequences caused by their food. Most Americans are more concerned with things that they feel are impacting their daily lives: the economy, unemployment, food prices, gas prices, etc. Obama did sign a food safety bill this year that is considered the most revolutionary food related legislation since 1938. The bill creates a tracking system for food that would enable officials to trace any disease outbreak back to the source. It also tightens safety requirements of imported food and domestically produced food.
Early this year, Obama signed a bill aimed at dramatically improving food safety in America by improving standards and practices and enhancing the FDA’s role in food safety control. Inconveniently, the signing of this bill was quickly followed by the deadliest recorded food-borne illness outbreak in the US (a listeria outbreak in cantaloupes). If no other good comes of it, this outbreak at least proves the importance of such a bill, which was staunchly opposed by some. It will likely be years before the bill is fully implemented, and until then it will be difficult to judge its impact. However, the FDA is currently working on transforming its practices to meet the standards of the new bill, which is promising.
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