A report by the Trust for America's Health has criticized the U.S. food safety system and claims that gaps in state regulations leave Americans unnecessarily vulnerable. TFAH is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting community health and working to make disease prevention a national priority.
The report cites problems such as obsolete laws, misallocation of resources, and inconsistencies among major food safety agencies. "Our goal should be reducing the number of Americans who get sick from foodborne illness. But we can't adequately protect people from contaminated foods if we continue to use 100 year-old practices," said Jeff Levi, TFAH executive director. "We need to bring food safety into the 21st century. We're way past due for a smart and strategic upgrade."
Some problems outlined in the report, Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food from Farm-to-Fork, include:
• The U.S. food safety system has not been fundamentally modernized in over 100 years;
• Inadequate efforts against modern bacteria threats, such Salmonella or E. coli;
• Inadequate funding of FDA for food safety;
• FDA has lost 20 percent of its science staff and 600 inspectors;
• Fragmented efforts of food safety agencies;
• Only one percent of imported foods are inspected;
• States and localities are not required to meet uniform national standards for food safety.
A 2007 public opinion poll conducted by TFAH found that 67 percent of Americans are worried about food safety, and that public concerns about food safety rank higher than Americans' concerns about a biological or chemical attack and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
For more, see http://healthyamericans.org/news/index.php?NewsID=1416