Why the U.S. needs a better food safety system
Yes, the Senate needs to pass S.510 but that is only the first step. As the inimitable Carol Tucker Foreman puts it in today’s New York Times story on the latest egg recalls:
You have to treat eggs with the assumption that they’re contaminated with salmonella…We may all object to the fact that we have to treat food like toxic waste, but if we don’t want to get sick, and especially if you have someone in your house that’s immune-suppressed, you have to handle things carefully and demand that the standards be set higher.
If you are still unconvinced, take a look at the recalls announced by the FDA just since August 13 (I’ve deleted the ones that do not involve microbial contaminants):
- August 20, 2010 – Hillandale Farms of Iowa Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 20, 2010 – GloryBee Foods Recalls Whole Raw Pistachio and Whole Raw Pistachio Kernels Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 19, 2010 – COUNTRY Eggs, Inc. Initiates Voluntary Recall of Large AA Loose 15 dozen Fresh Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 19, 2010 – Austinuts Wholesale, Inc. Announces Voluntary Recall of Pistachio Kernel Products
- August 19, 2010 – Salmonella in Alfalfa Sprouts
- August 18, 2010 – Wright County Egg Expands Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 18, 2010 – Montalvan’s Sales, Inc. Recalls “La Nuestra” Brand Frozen Mamey Because of Potential Health Risk
- August 17, 2010 – NuCal Foods Conducts Recall of Shell Eggs Supplied from Wright County Egg Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 13, 2010 – Goya Foods, Inc. Announces Voluntary Recall of Frozen Mamey Pulp, Produced By Coco, S.A. of Guatemala Because of Potential Health Risk28
- August 13, 2010 – Wright County Egg Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recalls of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk
- August 13, 2010 – Merrick Pet Care Recalls Filet Squares & Texas Hold’ems 10oz Bag (Item # 60016 All Lots) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
The FDA has a lot to say about Salmonella risk, but it’s useful to note that all these recalls are voluntary. Hence the need for S.510.
S.510 won’t solve the problem but it is a necessary first step in getting to a food safety system that does a better job of protecting the public against this sort of thing.