Klobuchar proposes Minnesota model to track food-borne illness

Source of Article:  http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/congress/46382167.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUvDE7aL_V_BD77:DiiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

Her $20 million overhaul of the nation's system for detecting foodborne illness would be modeled on Minnesota's program, which relies on DNA testing and intensive, early questioning of people sickened by food.

Last update: May 28, 2009 - 12:48 PM

Sen. Amy Klobuchar today proposed a $20 million overhaul of the nation's system for detecting foodborne illness outbreaks, saying other states should model their disease-tracking efforts on Minnesota's successful program.

She proposed creating regional centers, possibly one in Minnesota, that would train and assist health officials in other states in using the advanced methods to trace illnesses to food sources. The Minnesota Health Department program relies on DNA testing and intensive, early questioning of people sickened by food.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., proposed legislation, which she said will be introduced soon, in response to the peanut butter-salmonella outbreak that sicked 714 people in 46 states and has been linked to nine deaths, three of them in Minnesota.

Minnesota investigators in January traced the salmonella to a Georgia peanut processor. More than 3,900 products containing suspect peanut ingredients from the processor have since been recalled and the company went out of business.

Klobuchar said her bill may be folded into another food safety measure she and other senators introduced earlier this year.

According to the summary of the bill, it aims to improve coordination of foodborne illness tracking, develop better tracking tools, expand the use of existing methods and promote shared registries for long-term follow-up of diseases.

She made the announcement at the University of Minnesota, flanked by Prof. Mike Osterholm, director of the university Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Prof. Craig Hedberg of the School of Public Health, and Carlota Medus, an epidemiologist who leads outbreak investigations at the state Health Department.

 

 

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