Food Safety News: No More Screening For E.Coli?

by in Food Safety, July 13, 2011

bacteria, e coli
Global food-borne illness outbreaks have been on the rise in recent years. So why is the U.S. considering putting an end to screening foods to make sure they’re free of some of the deadliest bacteria?

In The News
The LA Times reports the House of Representatives passed a bill last month to do away with funding for a 10-year old program that screens commonly contaminated produce for the presence of harmful bacteria. Now it’s on to the Senate.

This program has lead to nearly 20 food recalls over the last 2 years. Budget restraints and complaints of “unnecessary recalls” are being blamed for the possible reallocation of funds.

Of course, there are two sides to every story. Large producers and transporters of produce argue that the Microbiological Data Program has been overstepping its bounds of testing and data collection and that similar programs are already in place. Those on the other side of the fence like Ken Cook from the Environmental Working Group states that we’re better safe than sorry to have multiple entities continually check produce for potentially sickening and deadly bacteria.

With so much food available, it’s nearly impossible to get all produce properly tested. Having multiple groups helps cover more ground. These types of government testing methods are certainly not perfect but in a global food market, chances of contamination are that much higher because food travels such great distances and changes hands many times throughout the process.

Tell Us: Do you think it makes sense to have less food-safety screening?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (2)

  1. Katrina112 says:

    That is good news I ever heard. At least now they will not going to get nervous if they buy foods because it is now free with e-coli.VZ 58

  2. This post should be read by many people who are in the food preparation industry and people who prepare food in their own homes. And in addition, these are some more important things to remember about foodborne illnesses:
    – Foodborne illnesses is also known as FOOD POISONING.
    – It can also be caused by pesticides, that's buying organic ingredients are now being given preference by some households and restaurants.
    – 1 out of 6 Americans (or approximately 48 million people) gets sick by eating/drinking contaminated food/beverage
    – Fresh fruits and vegetable can be contaminated if the water used to wash them is also contaminated/dirty.
    – And lastly, a fully cooked food can still be recontaminated if it comes into contact with other infected food.

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