U.S. Food Safety No Longer Improving: N.Y. Times

Posted on Saturday, April 11th, 2009 at 4:07 pm by dpacheco

Without explicitly endorsing or even mentioning it, this New York Times article provides one of the best reasons for eating local I’ve seen: if you don’t, you may get very, very sick.

Despite the best efforts of localvores, small farmers, and conscientious eaters, our food supply is getting more—not less—globalized. And as supply chains lengthen, and more opportunities for contamination are introduced, the agencies that are supposed to be watching out for us have fallen asleep at the switch.

WASHINGTON — After decades of steady progress, the safety of the nation’s food supply has not improved over the past three years, the government reported Thursday. And, it said, in the case of salmonella, the dangerous bacteria recently found in peanuts and pistachios, infections may be creeping upward.

The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demonstrates that the nation’s food safety system, created when most foods were grown, prepared and consumed locally, needs a thorough overhaul to regulate an increasingly global food industry, top government health officials said Thursday.

“The system needs to be modernized to address the challenges and changes of the globalization of the food supply and rapid distribution chains,” said Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration. “F.D.A. needs to do more inspections.”

Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the agency’s food center, agreed. “As supply chains get longer and longer,” Dr. Sundlof said, “there’s more opportunity to introduce contaminants that have a public health effect.”

Read the whole article here.

 

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