Newsinferno.com added a post titled, "CDC, FDA, ConAgra or Peter Pan himself, Who’s to Blame for the Underreporting of Sickening and Potentially Deadly Salmonella & E-Coli Food Poisoning Cases?" which offers an interesting discussion on foodborne illness outbreaks.
The federal agency responsible for insuring food safety was also been taken to task for its role in the incident. In April 2007, the Washington Post published documents proving that the FDA, as well as ConAgra, knew of contamination problems at the plant as far back as 2004. The agency took few corrective measures, assuming that ConAgra would address the situation itself. ConAgra apparently did little to nothing to fix the problem.
And this was not the first time the FDA knew about food safety problems but did little to correct them. The Post article also cited evidence that the agency had been aware of problems with contaminated spinach and other California greens as far back as 1995. In the fall of 2006, hundreds of people were sickened and three were killed after contracting e-coli from contaminated California Spinach.
Critics say that under-funding and a lack of trained inspectors at the FDA have left the nation’s food supply in a perilous condition. A congressional fact sheet published by Henry Waxman (D-Calif) in 2006 said funding for the FDA fell short by $135 million. The number of scientists employed by the FDA’s food division dropped from 1,000 to 800 in the past three years. This decrease in personnel and the ongoing budget cuts have overwhelmed the agency, greatly impacting its ability to watch over the food supply. The results of this shortfall are apparent — according to the CDC, contaminated foods cause 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year.
Maybe Newsinferno.com will post about the recent E. coli outbreaks traced to ground beef and include USDA in its next analysis.