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Food Safety

November 1, 2002 • Volume 12, Issue 38
Is our food supply as safe as it could be?
By David Hosansky

Introduction

Cleaned chickens are readied for packaging at the Perdue plant in Accomac, Va., one of 6,000 U.S. poultry and meat processing facilities. To help the food industry meet consumer demand, the government in the 1980s shifted responsibility for slaughterhouse inspections from federal inspectors to industry personnel.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Cleaned chickens are readied for packaging at the Perdue plant in Accomac, Va., one of 6,000 U.S. poultry and meat processing facilities. To help the food industry meet consumer demand, the government in the 1980s shifted responsibility for slaughterhouse inspections from federal inspectors to industry personnel. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Massive recalls of contaminated meat in recent months have shaken confidence in the nation's food safety system and raised questions about whether the government should tighten regulations. An estimated 5,000 people die yearly and some 76 million are sickened because of food-borne pathogens like E. coli, listeria and Vibrio vulnificus. Consumer advocates say the government needs to increase inspections of both domestic and imported products and sanction facilities that repeatedly fail safety tests, because new voluntary inspection procedures are failing dismally. But industry officials say increased regulations may put plants out of business without increasing food safety. And while natural contaminants pose a continuing threat, policymakers also have worried since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that terrorists could try to sabotage our food supply.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Food Safety
Aug. 31, 2012  Genetically Modified Food
Dec. 17, 2010  Food Safety
Jan. 26, 2007  Slow Food Movement
Nov. 01, 2002  Food Safety
Mar. 30, 2001  Biotech Foods
Sep. 04, 1998  Food Safety Battle: Organic Vs. Biotech
Jun. 06, 1993  Food Safety
Jun. 12, 1992  Food Irradiation
Nov. 08, 1991  Fast-Food Shake-up
Nov. 18, 1988  How Safe Is Your Food?
Dec. 11, 1981  Controversy Over Salt in Food
Dec. 08, 1978  Fast Food: U.S. Growth Industry
May 12, 1978  Food Additives
Dec. 26, 1969  Food Additives
Dec. 04, 1968  Synthetic Foods
Jan. 20, 1960  Food Safeguards
Feb. 09, 1952  Chemicals in Foods
Dec. 18, 1934  Revision of the Pure Food and Drugs Act
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Infectious Diseases
Nutrition
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
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