Calif. senate holds food safety hearing

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

The California state senate held a hearing on food safety Thursday in the wake of the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter.

State Senator Gloria Romero said she's concerned about delays that took place in notifying California schools that they had purchased contaminated peanut products. She said the contamination was known on January 14, but school districts were not notified until February 1.

It's estimated that 37 percent of those tainted products were consumed by schoolchildren.

"We've got to do more to make sure that children who come to our system, in one of the nation's largest lunch programs in the nation, are protected," said Romero. " When there are recalls issued, children, parents, districts need immediate notification."

The joint hearing was held by the Food & Agriculture and Education Committees.

Testimony was also heard that manufacturers are not required to notify state health officials if food products test positive for salmonella or other diseases.

State Senator Dean Florez said contamination should be reported promptly to California public health officials, and they should have the ability to quarantine products until it's determined that they are safe.




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