Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The industrial production of food...

Is a good way to spread a little contamination far and wide. There's a growing bipartisan consensus that something needs to be done:

The House has held nearly two dozen food safety hearings over the past year, focusing on contamination in peanut butter, spinach, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, pet food and seafood, manufactured both in the United States and abroad.

A panel of experts from consumer groups and the industry largely agreed that broad changes were needed. For industry, the growing number of food-poisoning incidents have become enormously expensive. Thomas E. Stenzel, chief executive of the United Fresh Produce Association, said an entire crop of spinach was discarded in 2006 during a salmonella outbreak.

“In fact,” he said, “we now know that the only contaminated product came from one 50-acre farm, packaged in one processing plant and only on one production shift.” Yet spinach sales continue to suffer, he added.

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