Georgia Moves To Strengthen Food Inspections
Source of Article: http://www.injuryboard.com/national-news/Georgia-Moves-To-Strengthen-Food-Inspections.aspx?googleid=257678
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, February 20, 2009 3:29 PM EST
A bill that requires
food producers to notify the state within 24 hours if any contamination
is found in a plant, passed unanimously in the Georgia state Senate
is designed to increase consumer confidence over the safety of food following
the now-closed Blakely, Georgia Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) plant,
sourced as the cause of a nationwide salmonella outbreak.
If passed by the
will become the first state to require internal reporting to the government.
The bill also
requires companies to conduct tests at least once a year. State and federal
inspections would be required.
The Athens Banner-Herald of Athens,
Ga., published an editorial Thursday that said, "in truth, there's
nothing much to be celebrated in connection with Senate Bill 80." The
bill codifies "what should have been a long-standing set of common-sense
testing standards that, if they'd been in place already, arguably could have
prevented the deaths and illnesses traced to the South
Georgia peanut plant. . . . While it's a good thing that federal
and state lawmakers are now focused on food safety issues, there's an abiding
sadness in the fact that it took deaths and illnesses to produce that focus.
And it's sadder still that those deaths and illnesses might have been
prevented with just a little legislative forethought."
There are 60 employed
to oversee 16,000 facilities statewide that deal with food. The FDA had
farmed out responsibility for inspecting peanuts
to state inspectors since 2001.
The portion of the
bill that discusses frequency of testing is up for discussion.
The $2.5 billion
peanut industry is suffering in Georgia.
PCA filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week and
plans to liquidate its assets. The company is under FBI investigation as is
plant where the discovery of rodents and feces has companies destroying
anything that came from there.
So far more than 600
people have been sickened and nine deaths are linked to salmonella
contamination. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has a list of
products about 2,100 items long. Including the most recent
Grandpa’s Oven Santa Fe Snack Mix, Slim-Fast bars and snack trays sold by
The Associated Press
reports that only a fraction of food poisoning cases are ever reported. One
in three cases of diarrhea that lasts a day or more may be due to food
poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
There are about 250
different food related illnesses including viruses, parasites, and
bacteria. A decade ago, the CDC estimated about 5,000 people died
annually from food poisoning which accounted for more than 325,000
As technology allows
scientists to identify food related outbreaks it may seem to make the picture
seem worse, though the number of confirmed food poisoning cases is steady
every year. #