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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

State-by-State Food Safety

The Minneapolis Star Tribune points out an additional problem with our current food safety program - the various standards applied by the 50 different states.  David Shaffer writes,

The system -- if it can be called that -- relies on 50 states and hundreds of local health agencies with widely varied expertise, funding and methods to detect pathogens loose in the food supply. The Minnesota investigators, based in the state health and agriculture departments, have cracked cases when other states have followed the wrong trail or didn't see one at all. . . .

The problem affects all Americans because an outbreak in one state, if undetected, can quickly erupt elsewhere. The salmonella outbreak first identified last year has sickened 575 people in 43 states; eight have died, including three in Minnesota. It has created a furor over the safety of the nation's food supply, and food companies have pulled back nearly 1,700 peanut products, one of the largest food recalls in history.  Dr. William Keene, an epidemiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division, is among those who believe "there really isn't a national system. There is an amalgam of state and local systems." . . .

Thanks to Scott Finch at Daily Kos for pointing out this article.

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