Food safety resources vary by state
April 20, 2009 at 11:44 PM
WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- The wide variation among
states' handling of suspected food-related illnesses prevents a coordinated
response to food emergencies, officials said.
Congress and the Obama administration have
already said more inspections and new food production rules are needed to
prevent food-related diseases, but officials say that will only go so far in
preventing disease, The New York Times reported Monday.
"The longer it takes you to nail an
outbreak, the more people are going to get sick," Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner
for foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said. "And if it's a
pathogen that causes death, the more people are going to die."
State officials say they are prevented by budget
constraints from aggressively investigating cases of food-borne illnesses.
"Just $50 million spread over the entire
country would make a huge difference," Dr. Timothy Jones, the state
epidemiologist in Tennessee, said.
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