In an attempt to update the nation's food safety laws for the first time in more than 70 years, the United States Food and Drug Administration has proposed a sweeping new set of rules that would alter everything from the frequency of farm inspections to the mandated length of time between manure application and vegetable harvesting.
The goal is to protect people from food borne illnesses, which sicken 1.6 million Americans every year, send 128,000 to the hospital and kill 3,000.
But the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has raised concerns among many critics, who fear that the new regulations would be too burdensome for small farmers, making it harder and more expensive to grow organic foods.
PHOTOS: Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals in America
As we approach the Nov. 22 deadline for open comments on the first draft of the law, what would the FSMA mean for consumers?
The answer is complicated and hard to predict, experts said, but there are plenty of reasons to push for changes, said Rebecca Klein, Public Health and Agriculture Policy Project Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in Baltimore.