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Focus on new FDA powers after salmonella outbreak

Saturday - 4/7/2012, 2:25pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A food-safety advocacy group says rules already on the books could have prevented the 100 people who have been stricken by salmonella.

The prime suspect for the cause of the outbreak is sushi. If that does turn out to be the culprit, food-safety advocates say rules that are being held up by red tape could have prevented the illnesses.

The Food Safety Modernization Act -- which gives the Food and Drug Administration more power to prevent problems -- was signed by President Obama over a year ago. But the rules have yet to take effect.

Nancy Donley, spokeswoman for the STOP Foodborne Illness, says they find the delay disturbing.

"It's given [the FDA] the tools now to require companies to put in preventative measures so contamination doesn't occur," says Donley.

The law is being held up by the Office of Management and Budget, which is reviewing the rules, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WTOP's John Aaron contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)