An attorney specializing in food-safety lawsuits says that new laws and litigation are needed to improve U.S. food safety.

“Frankly, we’re having too many outbreaks; too many people are becoming sickened by foodborne illness, and I think we are long overdue in making some changes,” says food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker in an interview with Comcast Newsmakers.

According to a press statement, Pritzker says that those changes are hopefully on their way in the form of legislation coalescing into two major food safety bills — one in the U.S. House of Representatives that has already passed and one in the Senate that’s expected to be taken up some time during 2010. These bills, if passed, would constitute Congress’s first major food safety legislation in nearly 70 years.

This statement’s release happened to coincide with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration announcement that it is taking steps to protect the public following the early identification of Salmonella Tennessee in one company’s supply of hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP). This is a common ingredient used most frequently as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, including soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings.

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Source: PR Newswire, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Reuters