Until now, checkup procedures varied greatly by state.

Your yogurt, cereal, and spaghetti will soon be safer. In an effort to decrease the incidence of foodborne illnesses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in July that it's applying uniform standards for the state agencies that regulate food processing, manufacturing, and packing facilities. Given the recent scares with spinach, lettuce, and other state-policed goods, the standards committee will start supplying monitoring agencies with benchmarks for inspection, staff training, laboratory procedures, and illness and incident investigation. "The FDA will audit participating states' programs on a recurrent basis," says Cathy McDermott, an FDA spokeswoman. "These standards are important because states will now be able to measure their programs against something to improve them." Pilot testing in New York, Oregon, and Missouri is scheduled for this fall.