Make Our Food Safe
08/22/2011

"With a long list and short on money, FDA tackles food safety"

New York Times | William Neuman

"This summer there has been a drumbeat of food-related illnesses. Strawberries containing E. coli killed one person in Oregon and sickened at least nine others. Ground turkey contaminated with salmonella poisoned more than 100 people nationwide, with one dead, and prompted one of the largest meat recalls ever. Imported papayas tainted with salmonella sickened at least 99. Sprouts grown in Idaho were linked to salmonella illnesses in five states.

The landmark food safety law passed by Congress last December is supposed to reduce the frequency and severity of food safety problems, but the roll call of recent cases underlines the magnitude of the task.

'It’s an enormous undertaking,' said Mike Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for foods, whose job it is to turn the far-reaching law into a coherent set of rules that farmers, food processors and importers can follow and regulators can enforce.

The agency is taking on the expanded mission at a time when Washington budget-slashing means that regulators have little hope of getting additional money and may instead have their budgets cut by Congress..."

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