The safety of food has been an age-old concern. Early civilizations adopted laws that punished sellers of tainted food. In this country, before food safety became a responsibility of the federal government every state had enacted laws prohibiting the sale of food that contained poisonous substances. The modern scientific and legal instruments available to the US Food and Drug Administration and allied agencies have improved regulation and advances in food preparation, preservation, and storage have contributed to a safer food supply. Even so, some observers believe that contemporary threats to food safety have grown more serious, and they surely excite intense public concern. For nearly two decades Congress has been debating the adequacy of current laws governing food safety. In the closing months of the 104th Congress, both parties finally agreed on the first significant legislative change in over a generation. This chapter examines the origins of the issues that were the focus of this extended debate and analyzes the implications of their resolution.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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