Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) publicly urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement a new food safety plan to address instances of unsanitary food warehouses throughout the U.S. Schumer’s urging--outlined in a letter to the FDA--has been prompted by various reports of insects, rat infestations, rodent carcasses, rodent feces and other deplorable conditions at facilities that supply food to restaurants.

According to Schumer, there is no “easily-accessible, real-time, source of information for restaurants or consumers to discover which food processing and production facilities have FDA food safety violations…” As such, restaurant owners will continue to purchase and serve food from dirty facilities until they become aware of food safety violations.

Schumer’s suggestions for the FDA include:

  1. To increase the regularity of inspections for all food facilities or processing sites for sanitary conditions. Currently, says Schumer, the FDA only inspects “high risk” food facilities every three years, and less often for those that have no violations on record.
  2. To increase fees for violations--and repeat violations--to help prevent such instances from occurring.
  3. Create an easily-searchable, real-time database for restaurants and consumers to search specific food facilities, caterers and suppliers so they can find violation information.

Schumer hopes that the FDA’s implementation of the three-prong plan will publicize food safety violations and enforce stricter punishments for failing to keep up with food safety standards.