A consumer group says there have been an alarming number of illnesses in Illinois caused by the unsafe food. The Illinois Public Interest Research Group says despite government commitments to address the problem, food recalls are on the rise. Contaminated food makes 48 million Americans sick every year and costs over $77 billion in aggregated economic costs. In Illinois, 108 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses linked directly to food recalls in the last 21 months. The cost to treat those illnesses in Illinois was over $6 million
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“More needs to be done to identify the contaminants that are making us sick and to protect Americans from the risk of unsafe food,” said Hailey Witt, an advocate with Illinois PIRG. The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2011 and was designed to give the FDA new tools and new powers to protect consumers. However, Witt says the act is still not being fully implemented and foods remain unsafe. “We need a food safety system that is fully funded and fully staffed so it can stop unsafe food from reaching our dinner tables,” Witt said. “We must move away from the current reactive approach, where recalls happen after dangerous products have already made it into families’ kitchens, and focus on prevention.
The Food Safety Modernization Act should be fully implemented and the administration should not waste any more time in strengthening our food safety systems.”