Wednesday, September 14, 2011

America’s Dangerous Food-Safety System

Eve Conant

Ten-year-old Shiloh Johnson lay in a hospital bed for 43 days as medical tubes protruding from her chest slowly drained suffocating fluid from her heart and lungs. Each day brought a new challenge, many of them life-threatening. Her veins went flat, requiring nurses to insert an IV. Her kidneys went into failure, requiring dialysis. She suffered cardiac arrest and had to be revived. For three weeks she slipped into a coma, unaware that her mother was sitting alongside her day and night, in utter disbelief that a simple trip through a restaurant buffet line could wreak such havoc on her healthy, vibrant child. Shiloh and several hundred others who ate at a restaurant in Locust Grove, Okla., back in 2008 were the victims of a virulent E. coli bacterium known as 0111, one of six strains that food-safety experts say are increasingly appearing in meats and other foods across the globe.

The industry has long insisted that more testing isn’t the answer and will only add to consumer costs. The administration, which has won accolades for enacting some recent food-safety reforms, says it hopes to continue closing holes in the safety net but worries that a Congress hell-bent on reducing the deficit may undercut those efforts with budget cuts starting next year. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), a longtime siren inside Congress about weaknesses in America’s food-safety-surveillance system, remains convinced that “a lot more people are going to have a bellyache and die” before things get better. Until Monday’s announcement, federal meat inspectors were required to check for only one E. coli strain, known as 0157. The food-safety agency inside the U.S. Agriculture Department recommended in January—two years after Shiloh’s illness, and more than a year after Marler petitioned it—that the six strains be added to the screening list.

1 comment:

  1. not more testing. testing in proportion to meat produced, from rancher to slaughter to packer. does it occur that the large, corporate(campaign donator,lobbyist hiring, foreign based/held)rancher conglomerates, same-large slaughter houses and packers produce upwards of 80% of meats yet receive very little testing in comparison to the smaller independents who produce the remaining 20% yet get heavily tested? drivimg them out of business and the largee's swallowing up that portion of the market(revenue stream) occurs. 80% of the industry production should get 80% of the testing/oversight. buy local meats, same as produce, or grow/raise your own or get with a local who's doing so.
    this writer thinks we need more testing? we need reform of the entire system, cease the lie's.

    raw milk kills..don't hunt or fish-animals are beings...prepacked meats are safe...home grown veggies are unsafe...frankensalmon is wonderful

    hey-when they perfect the human/animal splicing, we can harvest the organs, and eat the rest.


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