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August 27, 2008

Food Safety for the 21st Century

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York.

JAMA. 2008;300(8):957-959. doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.957

Throughout history, human health has depended on food supply. Recognition that food can pose a major threat to human health is also centuries old. Federal regulation to reduce food contamination in the United States began in the early 20th century, with the adoption of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 that regulated food purity and required content disclosure. Since then, additional regulatory measures and industrial improvements have further reduced contamination, although food-borne pathogens still cause the deaths of 5000 individuals a year in the United States.1 But the most rapidly growing food-related threat to health today is not microbes, but overconsumption of calories, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat.

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