JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Millions of people get sick each year from contaminated food and finding the source of the contamination isn’t easy. But that could be changing with a new plan aimed at reducing the number of foodborne illnesses and deaths.
According to Consumer Reports, every year an estimated 48 million Americans get sick from bacteria and viruses in their food. Elliot Weiler says he will never forget that time he had salmonella.
“It just really kind of like knocks you out in a way that—at least for me—had never happened before,” he said.
Now the Food and Drug Administration is trying to reduce the number of illnesses with its Food Traceability Rule, which covers food through the entire supply chain.
“This new record-keeping process is going to mean that everyone who touches the food, from the grower who grows it, to the supermarket who sells it, the restaurant that serves it, is going to have to keep track of the food in the exact same way,” said Consumer Reports Health Editor Trisha Calvo.
That means assigning a code to potentially riskier foods—those prone to contamination—such as soft cheeses, eggs, leafy greens, nut butters and tomatoes so they can be tracked more efficiently.
“In some cases, this new rule may make it even easier for food to be identified as potentially harmful before it even hits the market and gets into the hands of consumers,” Calvo said.
Meat and poultry aren’t included because they’re regulated by the USDA, not the FDA. Consumer Reports says the new plan isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what’s currently in place.
“Right now, record-keeping of this type is incomplete and inconsistent. So, this will standardize everything, and it will make it easier for people to follow the food back,” Calvo explained.
“If it could prevent future cases of food poisoning, that’s a win-win for everybody,” added Weiler.
The new FDA rule goes into effect on Jan. 20, 2026.