fda

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday it is delaying the close of the comment period on a long-awaited food safety overhaul.

The move sparked immediate criticism from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a vocal food safety advocate who has pressed the agency to move swiftly to adopt a pair of proposed rules unveiled last month.

DeLauro (D-Conn.) said she feared special-interest pressure was compelling FDA to slow-walk the rule.

“American families are already living with the specter of foodborne illnesses and contamination hanging over them,” the Connecticut Democrat said in a statement issued by her office.

“It is shameful that in a country as wealthy and prosperous as ours, with all the scientific and technological knowledge we possess, parents still have to worry if ground beef, cantaloupe, spinach, or any other number of foods, will send their children to the hospital, or possibly even their death,” DeLauro added.

The FDA’s proposed rules reflect the largest expansion of federal food oversight since the 1970s. They were announced on Jan. 4, and trumpeted as a major federal shift in focus from responding to food contamination to preventing it.