Over 80% of the nations food supply will now be subject to new regulations.

The Obama administration and the Food and Drug Administration first proposed the changes in 2010, but they were held up until after the 2012 elections and the Obama's second term started.

President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act on Jan. 4, 2010. Hailed as the most sweeping overhaul of food safety in 70 years, it was held up in the review process until Friday, possibly due to election-year jitters over too much regulation. That logjam has now cleared and FDA is proposing two significant rules that should greatly increase the safety of the U.S. food system, experts say.

Although the regulations will allow the government more "say so" in the nations food supply, followers of the industry say that that isn't inherently a bad thing.

The legislation is "landmark" because it gives the FDA the ability to focus on prevention of problems instead of waiting for outbreaks to occur and then going in after the fact, said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C.

The new rules "will govern about 80% of the U.S. food supply, pretty much everything but meat and poultry," said Erik Olson, director of food programs at Pew Charitable Trusts' health group. It's a significant step that is the first overhaul of "FDA's food safety laws since the Great Depression."

The FDA's new regulations should help in the prevention of wide-spread food-related illnesses.


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