Wednesday, April 25, 2007

FDA Awareness of Dangers to Food Prior to Outbreaks

Article in the Washington Post -- FDA Was Aware of Dangers To Food: Outbreaks Were Not Preventable, Officials Say, by Elizabeth Williamson.  Here's an excerpt:

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents.

Congressional critics and consumer advocates said both episodes show that the agency is incapable of adequately protecting the safety of the food supply.

FDA officials conceded that the agency's system needs to be overhauled to meet today's demands, but contended that the agency could not have done anything to prevent either contamination episode.

BGS

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