Two years after the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed by Congress, the Food and Drug Administration has finally addressed the gaping holes in its approach to food contamination cases. Prior to last Friday, the agency had yet to implement the letter of the new law. As The Atlantic frames it, “The biggest change FDA officials are touting in the new food safety rules is a shift from reacting to outbreaks to preventing them.”

Some of the changes that the new system is supposed to usher in include the following: Farmers are required to keep bacteria away from fields; processing plants must get a better handle on monitoring practices with government-approved plans; and food companies must have plans of action in place to address any contamination issues.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says “about 3,000 people die and 48 million people get sick every year from food-related illnesses.” Here’s hoping in 2013 we’ll see fewer cases of food-borne illnesses.

[via The Wall Street Journal]