Seventeen years ago Alex Donley died after eating one of his favorite foods, a hamburger, but a law signed by the President Obama Tuesday aims to keep others from suffering similar fates.

"Losing a child is every parents nightmare, but it's a double whammy when you unknowingly delivered his death sentence," said Alex's mother, Nancy.Back in the summer of 1993, Nancy Donley cooked up one of those frozen-boxed varieties of burgers and, as many people do, assumed it was safe. Alex got very sick and after four long days of fever and emergency surgeries, he died at age six.

After Alex's death, his mother started a campaign to make food safer and wrote to a young, Illinois congressman pleading for better food safety laws.

"Nancy wrote me a handwritten letter about Alex, and when I read that letter it changed my life," that young congressman from Illinois and now Majority Whip for the U.S Senate, Senator Dick Durbin said Tuesday.

President Obama signed the FDA Food Modernization Act Tuesday, giving the FDA more power to regulate food safety. That law was born from an idea Durbin says came from the sad letter he received from Nancy Donley in 1993.

Watch a portion of today's press conference here.