President Obama’s signing of Food Safety Modernization Act into law last week made big news and ushered in the first major overhaul of America’s food safety system since 1938. Media coverage of several high-profile recalls—eggs, spinach, lettuce, meat products, peanut butter, and sprouts—helped fuel broad-based support from consumers, food industry players, and lawmakers from both parties. Even so, the bill took more than a year to pass, and some in the Senate now are threatening to gut funding for its implementation.

But beyond the politics, those of us who eat may be wondering: Will this law make the food on my table safer? Delicious Living magazine talked with three food-safety experts to get their take.

Important first step

“It’s a big start, a good start,” says Drew Falkenstein, an attorney who represents victims of foodborne illnesses, about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). “It signals a significant culture change as far as regulation goes.” The shift is long overdue, says Barbara Kowalcyk, director of food safety at the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention. “The way we distribute food has changed drastically in the last 70 years; we need to bring our food oversight system into the 20th century.”