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Food Safety?

April 20, 2009

Food safety revamp urged

April 10, 2009

Atlanta — Food safety in the United States is no longer improving, highlighting the need to reevaluate the way an American meal makes its way from farm to table, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Rates of salmonella have shown the least improvement of several food-borne illnesses that the agency tracks, according to its annual report released Thursday. The agency also announced that in response, it would increase capacity at its division overseeing incidents of food poisoning.

“Progress has plateaued,” said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. “This indicates to us that further measures are needed to prevent more food-borne illness.”

The CDC data come as Congress considers legislation that would reshape the food safety system and require more preventive action. The issue has gained President Obama’s attention and driven proposals to create an agency dedicated solely to food safety outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Food poisoning strikes 76 million Americans every year, with 300,000 ending up in the hospital and 5,000 dying, the CDC says. Salmonella infections can be fatal in the young and elderly.
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