Gov't Didn't Act After E. Coli Outbreak

375spinach.jpg  Not particularly surprising, unfortunately. What protection can you expect from a government whose guiding philosophy is that governing is the problem?

YahooNews: Government regulators never acted on calls for stepped-up inspections of leafy greens after last year's deadly E. coli spinach outbreak, leaving the safety of America's salads to a patchwork of largely unenforceable rules and the industry itself, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The regulations governing farms in this central California region known as the nation's "Salad Bowl" remain much as they were when bacteria from a cattle ranch infected spinach that killed three people and sickened more than 200.

AP's review of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act found that federal officials inspect companies growing and processing salad greens an average of just once every 3.9 years. Some proposals in Congress would require such inspections at least four times a year.

In California, which grows three-quarters of the nation's greens, processors created a new inspection system but with voluntary guidelines that were unable to keep bagged spinach tainted with salmonella from reaching grocery shelves last month.

Despite widespread calls for spot-testing of processing plants handling leafy greens following last year's E. coli outbreak, California public health inspectors have not been given the authority to conduct such tests, so none have been done, the AP review found.


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