Salmonella Fiasco Could Have Been Prevented with Better Record-Keeping, Enforcement, and Investigatory Tools
Date Published: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3528
It seems that
But now, a U.S. House investigative subcommittee hearing on Thursday may be the push that will ultimately change the current, paper-driven system. Most experts believe that if better record keeping was in place, tomatoes might not have been mistakenly blamed for this most recent Salmonella outbreak. Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat-Michigan, is the hearing’s chair. Stupak also chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigative subcommittee. “This latest Salmonella outbreak has shown us that it is necessary to have electronic record keeping and trace-back systems,” Stupak told The Associated Press.
The AP discovered through government reports and
interviews with former federal officials that the Bush administration was
pressured by the food industry to limit companies’ record keeping.
Industry lobbyists said maintaining electronic records would be too
William Hubbard, former associate commissioner of the FDA, told the AP that if the FDA had been given the resources and authority it requested years ago, “I think we would have solved this already.” Also, government records indicate that food industry groups met with White House officials no less than 10 times between March 2003 and March 2004 “as food-safety regulations were under debate.” The FDA’s proposed rules “were significantly watered down before they became final,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest. Tommy Thompson, the-then secretary of Health and Human Services, acknowledged to the AP, “We went in with the larger package but knew we had to compromise. If we had more, would it help the situation now? Yes.”
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