During the COVID-19 pandemic, we went from dinner out to dinner in. Americans took to cooking at home and the use of food-delivery apps more than doubled as takeout often took the place of eating at restaurants.
As food consumption trends continue to evolve, one constant is the concern over food safety.
Every year, around 48 million people in the U.S. get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the public health burden, there are also tremendous economic impacts. Following a November 2018 E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, for example, the agricultural sector lost more than $280 million, according to a report published by the University of California at Davis.
In recent years, state legislatures have explored policies to provide safety without compromising choice when it comes to retail food. States often use the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Code as a basis for establishing guidelines. Adopting the latest version of the FDA Food Code can help states become proactive rather than reactive when it comes to tackling foodborne illnesses at the retail level.
In partnership with National Environmental Health Association, NCSL created a resource for states to see what version of the FDA Food Code they are currently operating under and explore policies to update the code if needed.
See if your state has adopted the most recent version of the FDA Food Code and learn more about legislative action that states have taken by checking out the new resource.
Shelly Oren is a policy associate in NCSL’s Energy, Environment and Transportation Program.