DESPITE RECENT OUTBREAKS, FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS DECLINING
Source of Article: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17972
The U.S. food supply is safer now than it was 100 years ago and probably safer than it was a decade ago, despite continuing reports of food-borne illnesses and product recalls, say federal food safety experts.
Food has always contained germs, and it has always posed a risk of illness. An estimated 76 million Americans, a quarter of the population, contract food-borne illness each year, but the vast majority of the cases are so mild that victims do not realize where the germs came from.
David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) associate commissioner for food safety, said, "If you are half-asleep, you are going to have less outbreaks because you don't recognize them."
Still, recent outbreaks have revealed new challenges for ensuring food safety. According to many public health experts, the complexity of the U.S. food manufacturing system underscores the need for stricter government oversight, including more field inspectors. Some advocates also say FDA lacks sufficient funding and authority to effectively regulate the food supply.
Source: Andrew Martin and Gardiner Harris, "Outbreaks Put Worry on the Table," New York Times, May 10, 2009.
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