The Expanded Food Safety Investigation Act (EFSIA) was recently reintroduced to U.S. Congress by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). If passed, the bill would allow U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigators to enter concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and conduct microbial sampling to trace foodborne illness outbreaks.

EFSIA’s reintroduction to the Senate follows Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) reintroduction of the bill to the House of Representatives in June 2023.

At present, farm owners can refuse federal investigators entry to their premises to swab for microbes, and are the only food-producing business with this ability.

The bill aims to enhance scientific understanding of how foodborne pathogens spread from farms to inform effective decision-making, and to stop businesses from impeding foodborne illness outbreak investigations.

EFSIA was first introduced after the 2019 multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli infections caused by romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. The lettuce that caused the foodborne illness outbreak were contaminated by a cattle-feeding operation in close proximity to where the crop was grown.

The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and is endorsed by the following organizations: The Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, the Center for Food Safety, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Environmental Working Group, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Food and Water Watch, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Stop Foodborne Illness.