President Obama is set to sign a bill on Tuesday that overhauls the nation's food safety system.
The bill gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new powers over inspections at food processing facilities.
"It will bring our food safety system into the 21st century, improving health, saving lives and helping Americans feel confident that when they sit down at their dinner table they won't end up in the hospital," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Monday during a conference call.
Congress passed the legislation to respond to several recent outbreaks of e-coli and salmonella.
The new law will:
- Allow the FDA to order a recall of tainted food.
- Require the agency to develop new safety regulations for producers of the highest-risk fruits and vegetables.
- Increase inspections of domestic and foreign food facilities, with the riskiest being inspected every three years.
- Require farms and processors to keep records to help the government trace recalled foods.
The measure will not extend to meat, poultry or processed eggs, which are currently subjected to rigorous regulation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The legislation will be the first major overhaul of the U.S. food safety system since the 1930s.