Make Food Safety Top Goal
By: iStockAnalyst Tuesday, August 05, 2008 9:56 AM
By Deseret News editorial
Source of Article: http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews+articleid_2476204&title=Make_Food_Safety_Top.html
The Food and Drug Administration has a difficult job. On the one hand, if it suspects a certain crop is tainted, making American consumers sick, it needs to act post-haste.
But it must act in a way that fosters public
confidence. Take the FDA's recent alert about a salmonella outbreak associated
with the consumption of three types of raw tomatoes grown in the
Tomato growers say this scare resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for the industry. But it also spotlighted glaring deficiencies within the federal agency that is charged to protect consumers. Congress needs to investigate reforms.
Testimony before a House subcommittee revealed turf
struggles and weak communication by the FDA. Bloomberg News reported that
FDA officials say its investigation was delayed by difficulties in following tomatoes through the supply chain from farms to restaurants and grocery stores. The federal government should have as good, if not better, technology and investigative means than states to track contamination.
Some states, such as
Granted, it is easier to track produce within a given
state than across the entire nation, yet this raises questions as to why
federal regulators did not avail themselves to the expertise and technology of
the state of
When the health and safety of consumers is at issue, protecting turf should be federal regulators' last concern. All efforts need to be focused on locating the source of contaminated food and protecting consumers.
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