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Will new laws make your food safer?

There have been 30 outbreaks associated with leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. Certain vegetables and fruits account for 88.5 % of all the produce-associated outbreaks between 1996 and 2010. The CDC defines an outbreak as two or more people experiencing a similar illness after eating the same food.
There have been 30 outbreaks associated with leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. Certain vegetables and fruits account for 88.5 % of all the produce-associated outbreaks between 1996 and 2010. The CDC defines an outbreak as two or more people experiencing a similar illness after eating the same food.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff; styling by Lesley Becker/Globe staff

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Food-borne illnesses, which also includes food poisoning, sicken about one in six Americans every year, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations, and an estimated 3,000 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite improved techniques to help trace the sources of food contamination, current food safety regulations have not prevented dangerous contamination from happening in the first place.

But with the introduction of federal laws to regulate food safety, including rules on how produce is grown, harvested, and distributed throughout the country, officials hope they will be able to better prevent some tainted produce from getting to consumers. New regulations will also require processing plant manufacturers to fix hazards on the assembly line that could contaminate pasta, baked goods, and other packaged foods.

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