FDAInsideBayArea.com reports that the linkage is troubling. There are sharp cuts in the budget and staff for the federal agency charged with keeping the nations supply of fresh produce safe — and soon we are faced with repeated cases of food poisoning from vegetables and fruits.

Two outbreaks of bacterial poisoning from fresh produce over the past three months, and a possible third that is still under investigation, raise doubts about the Food and Drug Administrations ability to inspect and monitor conditions on the nations farms and in plants that package and process their produce.

After Sept. 11, the FDA received a brief infusion of new money to bolster its inspections lest terrorists be able to contaminate the food supply. But that zeal soon wore off, and the Bush administration and Congress began reining in domestic spending to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and the war in Iraq.