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Report Finds Food Safety System in Crisis
Date:4/30/2008

Outdated Federal Policies, Limited Oversight of Imports, and Gaps in State Regulations Leave Americans Unnecessarily Vulnerable

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released a new report today that identifies major gaps in the nation's food safety system, including obsolete laws, misallocation of resources, and inconsistencies among major food safety agencies.

"Our goal should be reducing the number of Americans who get sick from foodborne illness. But we can't adequately protect people from contaminated foods if we continue to use 100 year-old practices," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "We need to bring food safety into the 21st century. We have the technology. We're way past due for a smart and strategic upgrade."

Some problems outlined in the report, Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food from Farm-to-Fork, include:

-- The U.S. food safety system has not been fundamentally modernized in

over 100 years;

-- The bulk of federal food safety funds are spent on outdated practices of

inspecting every poultry, beef and pork carcass, even though changing

threats and modern agriculture practices and technology make this an

unproductive use of government resources;

-- Inadequate resources are spent on fighting modern bacteria threats, such

as trying to reduce Salmonella or dangerous strains of E. coli;

-- An estimated 85 percent of known foodborne illness outbreaks are

associated with foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(FDA), but the agency receives less than half of the federal funding for

food safety;

-- In the past 3 years, the main food safety function at FDA has lost 20

percent of its science staff and 600 inspectors;

-- Gaps in current inspection practices mean acts of agroterrorism -- such

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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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