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Trust for America's Health Applauds President Obama's Call for a Complete Review of the U.S. Food Safety System
Date:2/2/2009

eaching the kitchens and plates of the American public altogether.

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 and has not established a preventive standard for food safety;
  • The bulk of federal food safety funds are spent on outdated practices of inspecting every poultry, beef and pork carcass, even though changing threats and modern agriculture practices and technology make this an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 three 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 as contamination of wheat gluten or botulism -- could go undetected until they are widespread;
  • While 15 federal agencies are involved in food safety, the efforts are fragmented and no one agency has ultimate authority or responsibility for food safety;
    • For instance, the FDA regulates frozen pizza, but if the pizza is topped with two percent or more of cooked meat or poultry, then the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture becomes the regulatory agency;
  • Only one percent of imported foods are inspected. Approximately 60 percent of fresh fruits and veg
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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