Food Safety

13 die, 72 fall ill after eating listeria-tainted cantaloupe grown by Jensen Farms of Colorado

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-09-27

Government inspectors continue to find unsanitary conditions and inadequate protections against salmonella on Iowa's egg farms - a year after 1,900 sickened from bacteria

By Clark Kauffman

The Des Moines Register 2011-08-28

Concurrent national outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg, discovery of clone of Salmonella Kentucky, underline rising danger of drug-resistant organisms in food supply

By Maryn McKenna

Wired 2011-08-03

Citing harm to business, House Republicans push ahead on plans to hamstring air, water, soil protections

By Tennille Tracy

Dow Jones Newswires 2011-07-13

E. coli probe centers on 16 tons of Egyptian fenugreek seeds received by German importer in December 2009 and distributed to dozens of firms in at least 12 European countries

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-07-05

House moves to kill only national program that routinely screens our fruits, vegetables for deadly e. coli, but tracking pathogens in meat, dairy has $9 million budget

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-07-04

Opinion: Fracking for natural gas from shale has potential to transform U.S. energy production if risks to water supply, environment and human health are managed

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-06-25

Radioactive tritium has leaked from at least 48 of all 65 U.S. nuclear power stations, raising fears of water tainting; regulators, industry loosen standards to keep plants operating

By Jeff Donn

The Associated Press; MSNBC.com 2011-06-21

Despite tough times, government urged to consider potential public health impacts of legislation, regulations such as agriculture subsidies, zoning decisions, education policy

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2011-06-21

10 dead in Germany, hundreds ill with e.coli; officials suspect cucumbers imported from two greenhouses in Spain and warn of secondary infections passed from person to person

BBC 2011-05-29

Opinion: We need to support sweeping regulatory change to our main chemical safety law, and make chemical companies demonstrate their products are safe before sale to us

By Dominique Browning

The New York Times 2011-05-09

Feds go to court to stop Amish farm in PA from selling unpasteurized milk; devotees say heat process kills good bacteria, but FDA says it protects public from salmonella, E. coli, listeria

By Stephen Dinan

The Washington Times 2011-04-28

New food safety law needs funding but GOP looks to cut FDA budget; agency inspects only 1 percent of 10 million products, yet imports account for 60 percent of fresh fruits, vegetables and 80 percent of seafood

By Steven Gray

Time magazine 2011-04-24

Children exposed to high levels of organophosphates -pesticides sprayed on food crops - while in womb have lower I.Q. scores than their peers by school age, studies show

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2011-04-21

Milk tainted by nitrate, a meat-curing chemical, kills three, sickens 35 in latest Chinese dairy industry safety scandal; imports have doubled since 2008, pushing global prices up

By Guy Montague-Jones

Dairyreporter.com; Decision News Media 2011-04-08

Letter to USDA head intensifies fight between those who see biotech as only way to feed rising population and those who fear that it produces food that is nutritionally lacking, environmentally dangerous

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-04-02

FDA panel rejects need for warnings on food coloring; use of the cheaper dyes, once made from coal tar but now derived from petroleum, has increased 50 percent since 1990

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-03-31

Opinion: FDA panel to review research on behavioral effects of artificial dyes; those colorings often found in items fueling obesity epidemic that costs U.S. $270 billion yearly

By David W. Schab and Michael F. Jacobson

The Washington Post 2011-03-25

Opinion: We are for savings, but GOP's proposed losses of $11 billion in meat and poultry production over next seven months through furloughs of meat inspectors makes no sense

The editors

The New York Times 2011-03-06

Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, can release estrogen-like chemicals, even before exposure to simulated sunlight, dishwashing, microwaving, study shows

By Jon Hamilton

National Public Radio/ All Things Considered 2011-03-02

Opinion: Start cutting government fat by combining 15 federal agencies dealing with food safety - the same ones cited 10 years ago in report to Congress

The editors

Mercury News (San Jose, CA) 2011-03-01

Military buys Gulf fish, shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and packaged Cajun dishes after region was hammered by last year's BP oil leak; consumers had feared bounty had been tainted

By Mary Foster

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2011-02-06

Kerala villagers join campaign to ban Endosulfan pesticide, but Indian government, the world's largest producer, exporter and user, says negative health reports are limited and ban would risk food security

By Rama Lakshmi

The Washington Post 2011-02-07

With 60-day aging rule for raw milk cheeses widely viewed as simplistic, cheesemakers worry that new FDA proposal may require them to switch to less flavorful pasteurized milk

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-02-04

FDA loophole allows popular Girl Scout cookies - Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints - to carry "0 grams trans fat" label though partially hydrogenated oils are high on ingredient list

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-01-25

FDA, dairy industry fight over testing for antibiotics in milk from farms that had repeatedly sold for slaughter cows tainted by drug residue; antibiotics overuse a question

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-01-26

New businesses spurred by food safety law requiring that all players in food supply chain maintain digital records of where they bought all processed food and/or produce and where they sent it

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-01-23

Opinion: Regulatory system requires balance; we won't shy away from new safety rules for infant formula, or treat saccharin like dangerous chemical if FDA considers it safe to eat

By Barack Obama

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-01-18

Public funding of campaigns, single food safety agency, breaking culture of corporate growth every quarter among nutrition professor Marion Nestle's wishes for food system

By Marion Nestle

The Atlantic 2011-01-18

New dioxin-tainted food scandal in Germany points to criminal deficiencies in system; low cost for livestock feed is main driver and previous safety efforts have targeted food, not feed

By Andrea Brandt, Michael Frohlingsdorf, Nils Klawitter, Julia Koch, Michael Loeckx and Udo Ludwig

Der Spiegel 2011-01-10

Beyond funding fight for food safety bill, other provisions likely to draw scrutiny include safety plans, risk-based inspections and standards guarantees from food importers

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2011-01-03

Lawmaker with a say in FDA budget says "we don't have the funding" for $1 billion over five years for food safety bill, but grocery lobby says what of $6 billion a year for corn ethanol subsidies?

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-12-22

UN concerned about prosecution in China of whistle-blowers highlighting food safety scandals as well as shrinking of arable land - a major threat to self-sufficiency

BBC 2010-12-23

Republicans who opposed food safety bill say it gives FDA authority but not accountability, that it will lead to higher food prices and that $1.4 billion cost isn't justified

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2010-12-21

FDA trying to persuade pharmaceutical firms to stop providing antibiotics to promote livestock growth; companies sold 29 million pounds of antibiotics in 2009 for use in food animals

By Philip Brasher

Des Moines Register 2010-12-19

FDA's ability to enforce new food safety law will depend on funds available to pay inspectors and staff; Republicans in House have vowed to slash spending

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-12-21

Buffets, salad bars in U.S. hotels, restaurants said to have been discussed as prospective poisoning targets of al Qaeda earlier this year; hospitality industry officials were briefed

By Armen Keteyian

CBS News 2010-12-20

Senate passes food safety bill after weekend of negotiations, strategy sessions and several predictions about bill's demise; bill won't affect meat, poultry, some egg products

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-12-20

Food safety bill looks dead after its host, omnibus spending legislation, fails; bill would give FDA ability to recall tainted food, set quarantines, access food producers' records

By Jason Millman

The Hill 2010-12-17

Government's failure to act linked to recent egg woes; resistance to regulating business, fractured oversight between 15 agencies and 71 interagency accords weakens food safety efforts

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-12-11

With current food safety bill, origins of contaminants in meats, other edibles in U.S. food should be faster, easier to uncover and trace

By Katherine Harmon

Scientific American 2010-12-07

Lawmakers from some agricultural states say they will vote against food-safety bill because of amendment that exempts small, local farms from some regulations

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-12-03

House may block food safety bill because Senate Democrats violated constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in House; next session of Congress could start from scratch

By John Stanton

Roll Call 2010-11-30

Senate food safety bill doesn't sort out overlapping jurisdictions among FDA, other federal agencies; new bill doesn't cover meat, poultry and eggs because USDA regulates them

By Les Blumenthal

McClatchy Newspapers; The Miami Herald 2010-11-30

Opinion: For true advancements in food safety - unlike the bill that just passed the Senate - use inspections to help employees become more successful and to solve problems

By Aubrey C. Daniels

The Washington Post 2010-11-30

Opinion: FDA food safety bill, scheduled for Senate vote, only expands ineffective bureaucracy, offers no common-sense reforms; free market drives innovation, safety

By Tom Coburn

USA Today 2010-11-22

Houston businessman to pay $15 million to settle allegations of selling old potato flakes, salad dressing, produce, peanut butter, lobster, hamburger to U.S. military for combat troops

By P.J. Huffstutter and Andrew Blankstein

Los Angeles Times 2010-11-20

Opinion: Lame-duck Congress needs to approve child nutrition bill and House food safety bill that would significantly strengthen FDA ability to combat food-borne illnesses

The editors

The New York Times 2010-11-16

Kirsten Gillibrand retains NY Senate seat; as member of Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, she backs improving child nutrition, school lunches, food safety

Poughkeepsie Journal 2010-11-02

Republican majority in House may cool interest in food safety initiatives; Frank Lucas, new Ag Committee chair, has degree in Ag Economics, represents wide band of Ag interests

By Dan Flynn

Food Safety News 2010-11-03

Tainted beef from Spain caused failed drug test, says Alberto Contador, Tour de France winner; clenbuterol enhances muscle growth in livestock but is banned in U.S., Europe

By Juliet Macur

The New York Times 2010-10-01

As the Senate left town for campaign trail, Harry Reid, majority leader, moved to proceed in November on bipartisan food safety bill; 60 votes will be needed

CQ Politics 2010-09-30

Tight Senate calendar, stubborn senator from Oklahoma and unusual coalition of left- and right-wing advocates for small farmers stall food safety bill

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2010-09-18

Opinion: Process surrounding AquaBounty GE salmon illustrates FDA's perverted process; study flaws include small sample size, non-random samples, setting detection limits too high

By Tom Laskawy

Grist 2010-09-14

Food industry withholds information, forces agencies to withdraw or modify policy or action designed to increase food safety, survey shows

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2013-09-13

Oklahoma senator, citing burgeoning federal budget, set to block passage of sweeping food safety overhaul that House approved more than a year ago

By Meredith Shiner

Politico 2010-09-14

Opinion: Current system of food safety is wasteful, ineffecient; one agency should oversee food safety; advertising US agriculture should fall under another agency altogether

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-09-11

Adding fuel to meat safety debate, public health officials link ground beef to illnesses from a rare strain of E. coli; likely source was Cargill, which recalled 8,500 pounds of hamburger

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-09-02

Opinion: Industrial meat, egg factories excel at manufacturing cheap food, but evidence shows model is economically viable only because it passes on health costs to public

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2010-09-02

California-sponsored program greatly reduces salmonella in hen houses but adds pennies to egg costs; regulatory confusion, public's desire for cheap eggs undermine safety efforts

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-09-01

Opinion: Industrial agriculture has reduced cost of food but at steep cost to public health, as salmonella outbreak shows; lawmakers must resist Big Ag to pass food safety bill

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-09-01

Federal investigators find manure piles, live mice, pigeons, other birds inside Iowa hen houses at egg farms suspected in salmonella outbreak; farms had never been inspected

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-08-31

Opinion: Senate, balking at cost of House food safety bill, must weigh inspections' price against 5,000 annual deaths, $152 billion annual costs of food-borne ills, and adopt bill

The editors

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-08-26

As FDA links salmonella outbreak to farms and chicken feed, fault line reopens in Iowa: Those who detest industrial farms vs those who see such operations as economic savior

By Monica Davey

The New York Times 2010-08-26

Russia may suspend poultry imports on salmonella fears; news comes after US exporters switched to non-chlorine disinfectant to comply with country's food safety standards

By Aleksandras Budrys

Reuters 2010-08-27

Senate's refusal to pass food-safety bill has hampered recall of 600 million eggs linked to salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 2,000, experts and lawmakers say

By Meredith Shiner

Politico 2010-08-24

Absence of mandatory salmonella vaccine for hens - which has virtually eliminated illness in Britain and would cost less than a penny per dozen eggs - weakens FDA safety rules, experts say

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-08-24

Opinion: Impact of public health felt most clearly in absence of negative consequences - good quality of food, water, for example- which reduces awareness of its vital functions

By David Tuller

California Magazine 2010-07-01

Pig farmers, accustomed to administering antibiotics for fast growth, disease prevention, battle proposed reduction in use; at issue is growing antibiotic resistance in humans

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-08-01

Group representing GM crop farmers in U.S. urges sanctions against EU for its moratorium on new biotech; many Europeans concerned over safety of technology

By Doug Palmer

Reuters 2010-07-27

Regulators, guns drawn, raid organic grocer, seize raw milk in latest salvo against consumers who eschew industrialized food sector with its legacy of food-borne illnesses

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-07-25

Opinion: Food safety legislation seeks protection for weakest and restraint on unchecked corporate power; no one should lose a child because Senate lacks will, leadership

By Eric Schlosser

The New York Times 2010-07-24

Democrats quarrel over BPA amendment, stalling bill that would give FDA power to recall tainted food, quarantine geographic areas and access food producers' records

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2010-07-19

Opinion: Reporter at The New York Times is relentlessly negative, sometimes almost apocalyptic in tone toward GE, says former FDA biotechnology head

By Henry I. Miller

Forbes 2010-06-30

FDA mulls OK of first GE animal that people would eat - salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate; labeling debate grows

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-06-25

As FDA mulls antibiotic rules, ethanol industry frets over residue left in distillers grains, a lucrative byproduct of industry and major source of feed for beef, dairy cattle

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-05-30

Latest e. coli outbreak - from less famous, yet virulent strain comprising "big six" - spurs reassessment of food safety law

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-05-26

USDA raises ground beef standards for school meals to that of fast-food eateries

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-05-15

Opinion: Free-range livestock face predators, insect pests and more parasites than confined animals dosed with antibiotics

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2010-05-10

UK water companies accused putting oyster eaters at risk by dumping raw sewage - source of norovirus - into waterways

By Jon Ungoed-Thomas

The Times (UK) 2010-05-02

Senate struggles over how to regulate small and organic growers without ruining them while upping food safety, but ignores industrial animal industry where food pathogens breed

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-04-25

Plastics chemicals increasingly scrutinized for links to disease; EPA has required testing for only about 200 of the 83,000 in inventory and restricted only five

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2010-04-01

Opinion: Limp regulations on toxins, corporate secrecy on internal safety data leave consumers closer to Wild West than nanny state

By David Leonhardt

The New York Times 2010-03-30

Opinion: New salmonella outbreak shows senate should act on common-sense measures on food safety

The editors

The Washington Post 2010-03-11

US pays $152 billion yearly for food-borne illness; cost includes medical services, deaths, lost work, disability

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-03-03

Newly patented sugar-derived epoxy lining could replace bisphenol A in can linings

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-03-04

In face of resistance from farmers, ranchers, USDA to drop livestock tracing program created after 2003 discovery of mad cow case

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-02-05

A year after peanut-based salmonella outbreak, Georgia law enforcement has dropped probe, feds say no comment and food safety gaps remain

By Craig Schneider and Bob Keefe


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2010-01-31

Under new budget, food safety big winner for FDA, with increase of $318 million to fund tracking of foods, audits, inspections

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel

Science Magazine 2010-02-01

Despite public perception, grass-fed cows not immune to deadly E. coli, studies show

By James E. McWilliams

Slate Magazine 2010-01-22

Calls grow louder for Obama to fill crucial slaughterhouse/processing plant oversight position at USDA

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-01-18

BPA, used in food can linings, bottles, of "some concern" for children, infants, FDA now says

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren and Alicia Mundy

Dow Jones Newswire/The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-01-15

Russia's ban on chlorine-treated poultry risks U.S. export market worth $800 million in 2008

By Dasha Korsunskaya

Reuters 2010-01-14

Higher BPA exposure consistently linked to reported heart disease in the general adult population in U.S., UK researchers say

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-01-14

Opinion: Food safety lapses give urgency to term 'mystery meat'

The editors

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-01-05

Opinion: Ammonia-injected meat mess shows need for better communication, higher priorities than price, vigilance on food safety

The editors

The New York Times 2010-01-10

Secrecy, scarcity of research on food-related nanotech worries UK science panel

By Kate Kelland

Reuters 2010-01-07

Chemical trade group blasts feds' action plan on controversial compounds

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-01-06

USDA stamp pre-empts California's Proposition 65, which requires labels on meats containing harmful chemicals, judge says

By Kathy Woods

Legal Newsline 2009-12-29

E. coli-tainted beef products, possibly mechanically tenderized, sicken 21 people

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-12-30

Serious food safety violations common at airport eateries, probe shows

By Alison Young

USA Today 2009-12-23

School lunch system must require higher standards on foods, move faster on problems, experts say

By Elizabeth Weise and Peter Eisler

USA Today 2009-12-29

Overuse of antibiotics in livestock causes plague of drug-resistant infections, researchers say

By Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2009-12-28

Opinion: Senate bill a step toward new system of food safety

The editors

The New York Times 2009-12-21

School lunch safety series: Trouble on the trays

USA Today 2009-12-08

Opinion: Maybe health care begins in our plastic food containers

As debate continues on health insurance and mammograms, lingering question is whether our ills have more to do with contaminants in our water or air or in plastic containers. What if surge in asthma, childhood leukemia reflect, in part, poisons we impose upon ourselves? Physicians at cancer symposium say they avoid microwaving food in plastic or putting plastics in the dishwasher, because heat may cause chemicals to leach out; they say avoid plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7. And: Lawmaker pushes for legislation to study links between women's reproductive health and chemicals that may cause hormone disruption (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-12-05

See also 

Senator wants BPA ban in food containers for young children

New York senator proposes ban of BPA (bisphenol A) in food packaging for children aged three and younger. Under BPA-Free Kids Act, children's food, beverage containers containing BPA would be considered a banned hazardous substance; bill also would allow for appropriation of $25 million over five years to fund research into effects of BPA exposure on all age groups and pregnant women. And: BPA commonly found in in coatings for inside of cans containing foods, in water bottles, baby bottles and some dental fillings (click 'See also').

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-11-18

See also 

Food-borne toxins can cause lifelong ills, researchers say

Food-borne pathogens disproportionately affect youngest of us and have effects beyond painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea, researchers say. Campylobacter, e.coli, listeria, salmonella seen most in children under 4; half the reported cases of food-borne illness affect children younger than 15. Lingering effects can include premature death, paralysis, kidney failure, lifetime of seizures or mental disability. To reduce infection: Cook meat thoroughly, clean work surfaces, wash produce, buy only pasteurized milk & juice products, report any food-borne illness to local health department.

By Melissa Healy

Los Angeles Times 2009-11-12

E.coli traced to producer that doesn't test for deadly bacteria

E. coli outbreak that has killed two people, sickened 500 others traced to ground beef producer that stopped testing ingredients years ago under pressure from beef suppliers. USDA has banned e.coli 0157.H7 but doesn't require meat companies to test for it; trimmings used to make ground beef are more susceptible to contamination because pathogen thrives in cattle feces that can get smeared on surfaces of whole cuts of meat. Grinders typically use trimmings from multiple suppliers; only ingredient testing, when it uncovers E. coli, enables grinders to identify slaughterhouse that shipped contaminated trim. Slaughterhouses have resisted independent testing by grinders for fear of recalls.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-11-13

Study links can-lining chemical BPA to male sexual dysfunction

High exposure to BPA, a synthetic estrogen commonly used in linings of food, beverage cans, appears to cause erectile dysfunction, other sexual problems in men, study shows. Findings raise questions about whether exposure at lesser levels can affect sexual function, researcher says. FDA has maintained chemical is safe, but research links BPA in lab animals to infertility, weight gain, behavioral changes, early-onset puberty, cancer, diabetes. And: 2 billion pounds of BPA manufactured each year, and endocrine disruptor is in 92 percent of us (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-11-11

See also 

Opinion: Feds must fill safety gaps in beef, other food production

Eating a hamburger should not be a death-defying experience. Too often it is (click 'See also'). Ground beef is major part of American diet. Government needs to quickly fill safety gaps in food production. Congress, USDA should make it illegal to discourage additional testing for pathogens, must give USDA more authority to recall foods or to shut down plants that keep sending out contaminated products. Administration should nominate strong undersecretary for food safety. That vacancy leaves a huge gap.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-10-10

See also 

Slow recall alerts cited in students' salmonella-related ills

Some of the 226 students who got diarrhea and other salmonella-related symptoms after peanut product recall 'may have consumed the (tainted) products in school,' USDA school lunch recall audit shows. Recall notifications were delayed - sometimes more than a week, report says. Delay also cited on largest beef recall in U.S. history, which involved abuse of sick and injured cattle at California's Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. (click 'See also'). School meals program serves 30 million students.

By Peter Eisler and Blake Morrison

USA Today 2009-09-22

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Accord allows Costco to test Tyson beef for e.coli

Costco will begin buying beef trimmings for making hamburger from Tyson, one of the largest beef producers, after agreement reached that allows Costco to test Tyson trimmings for e.coli before being mixed with those from other suppliers. Some of largest slaughterhouses have resisted added scrutiny for fear that one grinder's discovery of E. coli will lead to expanded recalls of beef, The New York Times reported Sunday (click 'See also'). Critics in Congress say USDA has irreconcilable conflict between protecting public health and at same time promoting agricultural products.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-10-08

See also 

Leafy greens top risk list for foods overseen by FDA

Ten riskiest foods overseen by FDA, which regulates 80 percent of food supply, are leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries, consumer watchdog study shows (click 'See also' for report). Meats, poultry, some egg products not considered because they're regulated by USDA. Tainted foods contained bacteria, from E.coli O157:H7 in spinach to scombrotoxin in tuna; victims suffered range of illnesses, from mild stomach cramps to death. One in four Americans sickened by foodborne illnesses and 5,000 die each year, says CDC.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-10-06

See also 

Flawed safety system makes eating ground beef a gamble

Tens of thousands of people sickened annually by e. coli O157:H7, mostly through hamburger. Ground beef blamed for 16 outbreaks in last three years, including one from Cargill that left 22-year-old children's dance teacher paralyzed from waist down. Hamburger patty her mother grilled for her was mix of slaughterhouse trimmings plus scraps from Nebraska, Texas, Uruguay and from company that processes fatty trimmings and adds ammonia to kill bacteria. In weeks before teacher's patty was made, records show Cargill was violating its own ground beef handling procedures. Cargill, which supplies beef for school lunches, has revenue of $116.6 billion last year and is country's largest company.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-10-04

Jobless rate reaches 9.8 percent; at school, algebra suffers

More than 15 million people in U.S. now unemployed, and more are working part-time jobs for less pay, or have given up looking for work. New Jersey resident, a year after losing job, has $800 left in savings account, six more weeks of $379 unemployment checks. She's paring expenses - she tries to eat less. And: Teachers note that impoverished students are distracted from learning; 'It's hard to focus on algebra when you're hungry,' says advocate (click 'See also').

By Jack Healy

The New York Times 2009-10-02

See also 

Bill would ban arsenic in nation's poultry industry

New York congressman introduces bill to ban use of arsenic compound known as roxarsone as a food additive. Bill 3624 called Poison-Free Poultry Act of 2009. And: Feeding arsenic to chickens promotes their growth (click 'See also'). EPA says 70 percent of the 8.7 billion broiler chickens produced annually are fed arsenic. In study, 55 percent of raw supermarket chicken contained arsenic; nearly 75 percent of breasts, thighs, and livers from conventional producers did too. Carcinogen contributes to heart disease, diabetes. Some drinking water naturally high in arsenic; runoff from fields covered with arsenic-laden chicken manure adds to problem.

washingtonwatch.com 2009-09-22

See also 

Focus on health care may delay Senate's food safety bill

Senator Tom Harkin says he hopes his committee can get food safety bill done this fall, but observers note that Senate is distracted by health care, financial services. Senate's bill likely to give FDA more authority over the 80 percent of food supply - everything but meat, poultry - that agency regulates. FDA moved ahead recently with rules for egg safety; last week, it revealed online registry where food processors are to report tainted ingredients. Administration also is creating a deputy administrator's position at FDA to oversee food safety.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-09-13

Likely food-borne illness leaves uninsured woman with $29,000 bill

Case of e.coli, likely from cheeseburger at diner, leaves woman with $29,000 in medical bills. She fell ill two weeks shy of insurance coverage after getting new job that paid $33,000 salary. Hospital list prices, like those that victim was charged, don't match what private or government insurance pays. Only uninsured are billed those amounts.

By Jim Dwyer

The New York Times 2009-09-13

Food safety lapses leave families bereft, lawmakers scrambling

Linda Rivera, once teachers' aide and always in motion, now in a mute state; 4-year-old girl partially paralyzed are among 80 people sickened by eating e.coli-tainted raw cookie dough, feds believe. As recalls cause public to lose confidence in food safety, lawmakers scramble; Nestlé resumes supplying chilled dough to supermarkets. And: Cargill slaughterhouse that just recalled 826,000 pounds of beef was slapped with animal handling citations last year after review of processors that supply USDA National School Lunch Program (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-09-01

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Spiking weedkiller in drinking water OK, says EPA; critics disagree

EPA says Americans aren't exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine, a weedkiller used on cornfields, gardens, lawns, golf courses that washes into drinking water, particularly in summer. Others say EPA rules are insufficient, that local water systems must monitor atrazine more often, issue alerts of spikes. 43 water systems sue Syngenta, other chemical companies to force them to pay for removing poison from water. Studies suggest link of small amounts of atrazine to birth defects, premature births, menstrual woes. Home filtration system can avoid exposure. And: Atrazine linked to frog decline, egg production in male fish, and found in Washington, D.C.'s Potomac River (click 'See also').

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2009-08-22

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Solving U.S. food crisis begins with awakening the public

Industrial food system is based on selective forgetting and hidden costs: erosion of farmland, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that birds can't raise their wings, rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals, acceleration of global warming, lapses in food safety, obesity epidemic that cost us extra $147 billion in doctor bills last year, the $50 billion-plus of taxpayer money poured into corn industry in last 10 years that makes fatty, sugary foods cheap and funds factory-farming of meat. With those price supports, a dollar buys 875 calories of soda, 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit. Consequences of food choices can no longer be ignored.

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2009-08-20

Council says no to biotech sugar beets on public open space

After 47 of 58 speakers show opposition, Colorado county's food policy council considers that it represents taxpayers, votes against recommending GMO sugar beets for planting in open space land. Dilemma for group was balancing economic well-being of six farmers with community. Genetically modified corn already is allowed on public land. And: Because public acceptance of biotechnology in Europe is lower than in U.S., all Kellogg products sold in Europe are free of any biotech ingredients (click 'See also').

By Laura Snider

Daily Camera (CO) 2009-07-31

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House, USDA, FDA move toward improved food safey

House OKs food safety bill; opposition had centered on lesser provisions that critics said would add burdensome bureaucracy for farmers. Legislation applies only to FDA, will not cover meat or poultry products, USDA territory. And: USDA to begin regular testing of meat trimmings used to make ground beef; FDA issues voluntary guidelines for growing, processing tomatoes, leafy greens, melons (click 'See also').

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2009-07-30

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Food safety bill falls short on first try in House

Sweeping food safety reform bill falls short in House on first try. Bill is strongly supported by White House, raft of consumer groups, plus some major industry trade groups, but is opposed by some farm interests. House bill places significant new responsibility on farmers, food processors to prevent contamination. It gives FDA new power to set safety standards for growing, processing food and requires it to sharply increase inspections, enforcement.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-07-29

Opinion: EPA's endocrine-disruptor testing old, incomplete

EPA's endocrine-disruption tests for assessing pesticide safety use old information. EPA's testing program addresses only segment of organs, tissues, systems, and won't detect chemicals that can alter development, function of pancreas, and its hormone, insulin, which could lead to diabetes, obesity. Nor will it detect chemicals that alter intelligence, behavior. And: Glyphosate, atrazine included in list of pesticides for Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (click 'See also,' then scroll to page 17583 of Federal Register).

By Theo Colborn

Scientific American; Environmental Health News 2009-04-27

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Dry-cleaning chemicals taint drinking water, soil

Often sloppy use of dry-cleaning chemicals, primarily perchloroethylene, poisoned soil, drinking water at hundreds of sites in Illinois but decades later, cleanup efforts lag. Residents are exposed to to perc by drinking tainted water or showering in it, playing in polluted dirt and breathing vapors. And: Lawsuit filed by cancer victim says feds knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, civilians to drinking water tainted with dry-cleaning solvents, industrial sources at Camp Lejeune (click 'See also').

By Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune 2009-07-26

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Feds send different signals on GM alfalfa, sugar beets

Judge bans Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa until scientific assessment can show that new crop doesn't harm environment, but Obama administration has said it intends to continue Bush-era policies on GM sugar beets despite similar suit against them. Monsanto charges ahead on GM wheat, buying WestBred, a wheat genetics company. And: Sugar from genetically modified beets - like all other GM foods - isn't labeled; during approval process, EPA OK'd increase of glyphosate residues allowed on sugar beets by 5,000 percent. (click 'See also').

By Barry Estabrook

Gourmet.com/Politics of the Plate 2009-07-24

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BPA-free canned beans, but tomatoes lagging at Eden Foods

Michigan-based Eden Foods made costly switch to bisphenol-A-free can linings for its beans in 1999. The Ball Corporation uses enamel made from vegetable resins. 'I didn't want BPA in food I was serving to my kids, my grandkids or my customers,' says Mike Potter, founder and president. Eden's tomato products still packaged in BPA-containing cans.

By Nena Baker

Environmental Working Group/enviroblog 2009-07-14

Waxman food-safety bill alarms small-scale farmers

Small-scale farmers alarmed at Food Safety Enhancement Act steamrolling through Congress, say it could conflict with organic growing methods, trump environmental efforts. But others favor FDA regulation as way to fight proliferation of private, often unscientific, often secret food safety rules imposed by large buyers that have forced them to poison wildlife, destroy habitat and remove vegetative buffers that naturally filter pollutants and pathogens (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-07-17

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More inspections could have prevented latest big beef recall

The 41,280-pound JBS Swift beef recall for e.coli, linked to 18 illnesses, could have been prevented if USDA plan to inspect more beef had been implemented. USDA is proposing to consider primal cuts - the large chunks of beef usually made into steaks, roasts - adulterated if e. coli is detected, and also to begin testing leftover parts of primals often turned into ground beef.

By Bill Tomson

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-07-10

In quest for food safety, 'scorched earth' policy could affect farms nationwide

Panicked push for food safety leads to 'foolhardy' attempt to sanitize farm fields in California despite evidence suggesting industrial agriculture may be bigger culprit - and plan may go nationwide. To appease large produce buyers, farmers are poisoning ponds, ripping out vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors; dying rodents are leading to deaths of owls, hawks that naturally control rodents. Surprisingly little is known about how e.coli is transmitted from cow to table. And: Industry-generated food safety system no substitute for federal regulation, says food safety expert (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-07-13

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Whole Foods will test private label foods for genetic modifications

Whole Foods says it plans to test its private label products for genetically engineered organisms and begin labeling before end of year. Nonprofit Non-GMO Project is designed to test whether a product has met defined standards for presence of genetically engineered or modified organisms. FDA says as much as 75 percent of processed food in U.S. may contain components from GM crops. And: GMO sugar beet farmer uses solar power to aid in lifting 210-pound kegs of Monsanto's weedkiller, Roundup (click 'See also').

Pacific Business News (bizjournals) 2009-07-07

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Opinion: Changing the food system, one meal at a time

Solutions to myriad problems with industrial food system aren't simple, and they may mean paying more for what we eat. But that could mean costs savings for fewer cases of diabetes, other diet-related diseases. We have power, the film, 'Food, Inc.' points out: 'You can vote to change the system three times a day.'

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-06-20

Opinion: Action needed on food safety bill

Coming after problems with tainted tomatoes, peanuts and pistachios, recall of Nestlé's raw cookie dough is another warning about weakness of nation's food safety system. Congress should move forward on new bill that would give FDA more money, authority, including much-needed power to recall products and make it easier for agency's inspectors to view company's food safety records, consumer complaints.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-07-05

'Inert' ingredient in herbicide kills human cells, researchers say

Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup, commonly used on food crops, contains ingredient listed as inert but is potentially toxic, says French research group. The chemical, POEA, helps main ingredient, glyphosate, penetrate cells. In tests, PEOA killed human cells. Monsanto questions methods. Product, derived from animal fat, is allowed in certified organic products. And: EPA decision due in fall on petition of 250-plus environmental, health, labor organizations to change rules for identifying pesticides' inert ingredients (click 'See also').

By Crystal Gammon

Environmental Health News 2009-06-22

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Tracking food-borne illnesses leads CDC to virus, chicken, poor sanitation

Leading cause of food-borne illnesses is a virus, mostly from restaurant workers who fail to wash hands, CDC finds. Salmonella bacteria was second. Among 17 individual food types, poultry was most common source of illness. Dairy products accounted for 3 percent of outbreaks, most from unpasteurized milk. And: In 2008, chicken sales increased 6.7 percent - three times overall growth rate for retail, food service meat (click 'See also').

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2009-06-11

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Proposed BPA ban advances in California senate

California Senate OKs proposal that would ban use of bisphenol A in food containers, as well as baby bottles, toddler sippy cups. Independent studies have linked BPA to brain development problems and behavioral troubles in young children, early onset of puberty, several cancers. And: FDA says it will review its earlier OK of BPA in baby bottles, food containers (click 'See also').

By Eric Bailey

Los Angeles Times 2009-06-03

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New bill would add transparency to food system

Key House leaders vow more frequent site inspections, mandatory preventive actions by manufacturers in new food safety bill. Proposal would require growers, manufacturers, food handlers to ID contamination risks, document preventive steps and share those records with feds, as well as require private labs to report pathogen detection. And: Obama administration launches website for its food safety working group (click 'See also')

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-05-28

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Determined mother uncovers trail to polluted drinking water

After Illinois mother refuses to stop asking questions about her teenage son's leukemia during toddler time, state officials and newspaper learn that for 20-plus years, town frequently, secretly, turned valve to draw water from well polluted with dry-cleaning chemicals. State EPA shut well in December 2007, after testing water for first time in 20-plus years. Update: Federal agents raid Crestwood Village Hall, cart documents away for criminal investigation; senator asks feds to look for links between water, illnesses (click 'See also').

By Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune 2009-04-19

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Opinion: It's past time for food safety reform

Recent recalls, contaminations, plus industry calls have combined to allow for meaningful, united reform that could keep Americans confident of food on their plates. Obama would do well to use his influence to ensure food safety reform occurs. And: FDA searches Westco Fruit & Nut Co., of Irvington, NJ, after firm refuses to issue voluntary recall of products containing peanuts from shuttered Georgia plant (click 'See also').

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

nutraingredients.com/ Decision News Media 2009-05-04

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Food safety lapses worrisome, point to developing problems

Though most public health experts believe nation's food supply safer than in past, recalls, outbreaks worrisome; some incidents point to new problems. Safety advocates say woes show inadequacy of FDA, which regulates 80 percent of food supply. Interconnectedness of food system illustrated by peanut product recall from small Georgia plant that supplied several hundred customers - 3,913 products have been recalled.

By Andrew Martin and Gardiner Harris

The New York TImes 2009-05-11

EPA to limit power plants' fish-tainting sludge discharge

EPA moves to limit power plants' discharge of selenium-tainted sludge into waterways. Toxin once was spewed into air, but air-pollution controls now capture it as coal ash or sludge. As with mercury, poison builds rapidly in animals' bodies. Birds that eat tainted fish may have deformed beaks, jaws and problems producing viable eggs; humans who eat fish can suffer neurological damage, hair, nail loss. And: Study links deformed fish to selenium-tainted water near mountain-removal coal mining sites (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-05-03

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Endocrine disruptor linked to childhood obesity

Phthalates, an endocrine disruptor used in cosmetics and to soften plastic pacifiers, toys, linked to obesity, study of 400 9- to 11-year-old girls in East Harlem shows. Such chemicals affect glands, hormones that regulate bodily functions. Researcher compares endocrine disruptors' effect on childhood obesity to that of lead on a child's IQ. And: EPA regulates phthalates as water, air pollutants (click 'See also').

By Jennifer 8. Lee

The New York Times 2009-04-17

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Opinion: Time to consider one agency for food safety

Newest salmonella-linked food recall shows it's time to think seriously about establishing one federal agency to coordinate, enforce food-safety regulations. Consumers need, deserve food safety. And: Food safety system no longer improving, study shows (click 'See also). Created when most foods were grown, prepared and consumed locally, it needs overhaul to regulate increasingly global food industry.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-04-15

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Perchlorate found in baby formula, CDC reports

Fifteen of 15 powdered infant formulas contain perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel linked to thyroid disease, says CDC study, but scientists haven't named brands tested. Legislator calls on EPA to set safe drinking water standard for perchlorate, water testing. And: Pasadena begins construction of perchlorate-removing water treatment plant near Superfund site. Wells nearby have been shut down (click 'See also').

By Liz Szabo

USA Today 2009-04-02

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Peanuts, pistachios recalls fuel calls for food safety reform

As salmonella-pistachio recall expands only weeks after peanut products recall began, food safety reform calls grow. Among suggestions: mandatory recall authority for FDA, more inspections, product tracking. Also: splitting FDA and establishing Food Safety Administration. But Kathleen Sebelius, nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, says that first FDA should be restored as 'world-class regulatory agency.'

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-04-03

Florida lawmaker looks to streamline food safety plans

Florida lawmaker proposes bill that would transfer food service safety duties to Department of Agriculture and would expand stringent food safety standards to crops beyond tomatoes. Ideally, says Carey Baker, who plans run for agriculture post, state's produce would carry a bar code to identify its growing, packing history. And: Law would require online availability of farm inspection reports (click 'See also').

By James A. Jones Jr.

Bradenton Herald (FL) 2009-03-20

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Michigan's salmonella response tab may reach $1 million

Peanut-product salmonella outbreak has already cost Michigan $425,000 and may reach $1 million. State does not receive federal reimbursement for food-recall expenses. Recall efforts include ensuring product removal from marketplace, collecting and testing products. CDC reports nine deaths, 691 salmonella infections. Recalls of items made with peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America's plants in Georgia and Texas: 3,488.

By Megha Satyanarayana

Detroit Free Press 2009-03-18

Opinion: One cost of cheap bacon may be fiery saucer-sized lesions in people

Doctor in tiny town sees link to hog farms and fiery, saucer-sized lesions of MRSA (superbugs, or flesh-eating bacteria) in too many patients. Infections likely came from routine overuse of antibiotics in feed. Our model of agriculture produces cheap bacon but evidence is building that shows it risks our health. And: Factory-farm pigs are infused with huge range of antibiotics and vaccines and doused with insecticides so they can survive in confined spaces; they are in state of dying until they're slaughtered (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-03-12

See also 

Unregulated private audits miss food-safety lapses

Feds' job of monitoring food safety delegated mostly to private firms that sell auditing, but in recent food-borne illness outbreaks, auditors have missed problems. Rigor, cost of audits and inspector knowledge vary. FDA spends $8,000 for inspection, but some firms charge $1,000. Auditors often inspect only plants, not suppliers or food products and sometimes are paid by inspected firms. At Peanut Corporation of America, auditor was paid by insurance giant AIG, which then sold recall insurance to PCA. FDA proposes expanding role of private auditors to inspect 200,000 foreign food manufacturers that import to U.S.

By Michael Moss and Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-06

Beyond health, cost and reach of salmonella outbreak

Hundreds of companies that bought Peanut Corporation of America products face financial troubles; feds say 666 illnesses and nine deaths linked to salmonella-tainted peanut products. Peanut Corporation of America sued by insurer. In court filings, insurer said it and PCA dispute whether circumstances of salmonella contamination void liability coverage.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-03-01

USDA head favors single food safety agency

Time is right to modernize food safety system into single agency, says Tom Vilsack, USDA head. He cites risk of jurisdiction questions, communication problems, possible gaps with current system which uses 12 agencies (click 'See also') and 35 laws. Frozen pizzas with meat and their manufacturing plants are inspected by USDA. Those with cheese are overseen by FDA.

By Brian Naylor

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2009-02-25

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Opinion: Beyond salmonella crisis to safer food system

Enhancing quality, safety of industrially produced food means building on success of existing programs; developing rapid detection methods for pathogens; eliminating unnecessary antibiotics; improving food preparation practices in all settings; strengthening capacities of health departments; and irradiating high-risk foods. CDC says irradiation could prevent up to 1 million cases of food-borne disease annually.

By Dennis G. Maki, M.D.

The New England Journal of Medicine 2009-02-11

Opinion: FDA fails us in oversight of food supply safety

FDA regulatory breakdowns are systemic, result of divided attention, lack of communication and executive branch support, understaffing. To make government work (click 'See also'), Obama must fix food safety. Move food monitoring to DHS; create Commissioner of Food and Nutrition Policy; add inspectors; give FDA authority to regulate industry, bestow harsher penalties.

By Caroline Smith DeWaal

Newsday 2009-02-01

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USDA school lunches again victim of food safety lapse

USDA bought 32 truckloads of roasted peanuts and peanut butter for its school lunch program as internal tests on product at Peanut Corporation of America showed salmonella taint. Scandal exposes an array of failures in government's systems. And: In early 2008, Hallmark/Westland beef recall was flashpoint in debate over meat safety and quality of USDA school lunches (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-02-06

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Two candidates in lead for food safety position

Two candidates in lead for food safety position

Two veterans of food safety community are top candidates to lead USDA Food Safety Inspection Service: Caroline Smith DeWaal at Center for Science in the Public Interest, and former FSIS administrator Barbara J. Masters. And: Fixing FDA's laissez-faire approach to food safety requires new commissioner position, more inspectors and penalties for problems, says DeWaal (click 'See also').

By Ed O'Keefe

The Washington Post 2009-01-27

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Obama vows stricter food safety oversight

In wake of salmonella outbreak linked to eight deaths, 500 illnesses, White House vows stricter oversight of food safety. New FDA head, more officials due in days; 'stricter regulatory structure' will prevent breakdowns in food-safety inspections, says Obama spokesman. Recent revelations about poor oversight - in federal regulatory system and peanut company - alarming, he says.

By Ben Fuller

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2009-01-30

Criminal probe begins of plant linked to salmonella outbreak

Criminal investigation into salmonella-linked peanut plant announced, FDA says. And: Warnings about problems at Blakely, Ga., plant came when metal fragments were found in shipment of chopped peanuts sent to Canada in April, 2008 (click 'See also'). FDA said shipment, described as "filthy and putrid," was rejected in Canada and returned to Peanut Corp of America, where it was destroyed in November.

By Jeffry Scott and Craig Schneider

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2009-01-30

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Legislators seek food safety reforms from Obama

In wake of salmonella outbreak, legislators offer proposals to fix food safety system, and expect Obama to act, since he vowed food safety reform as candidate. At least 12 agencies regulate food safety. Nearly all bills would require company plans for manufacturing, testing and record-keeping and would fund more intense inspections of food factories. Some would also fix patchwork system by which outbreaks are detected.

By Gardiner Harris and Pam Belluck

The New York Times 2009-01-30

Peanut product recall expanded to cover two years' production

Discard every product made in last two years with peanuts processed by salmonella-tainted plant in Georgia, FDA says. Already, more than 400 products have been recalled; now, contamination's impact will reach even more processed food items. One legislator calls for criminal investigation; another introduces bill to increase FDA funding, authority. Outbreak now linked to eight deaths, about 500 illnesses. And: FDA peanut butter product recalls (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-01-29

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Food bank distributes state-donated fish, unaware of state mercury alert

Idaho food bank gave away thousands of pounds of lake trout, whitefish caught in Lake Pend Oreille donated by state wildlife agency at same time another agency warned of mercury contamination in fish caught there. Giveaway offers tough choice, says activist: Go hungry, or take mercury-tainted fish that can be dangerous to long-term health of children. And: New York's advisories on fish consumption (click 'See also').

By John Miller

The Associated Press; Bonner County Daily Bee 2009-01-28

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Tainted peanut products knowingly shipped, feds say

Peanut product plant retested some positive salmonella results but sold products anyway, sometimes after negative finding from different lab, feds say. Disclosure of internal tests not required. FDA delegated inspection to Georgia; in fiscal 2008, FDA inspected 5,930 of country's 65,520 domestic food production facilities. State inspectors test 4,500 samples yearly and have 16,000 food-processing, food-sales stores in state. And: Most of about 50 workers laid off, production shut down at troubled plant (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-01-28

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Past lead levels in D.C. tap water may risk children's health

Elevated lead levels in tap water from 2001-2003 could jeopardize health of about 42,000 Washington, D.C. children who then were younger than 2 or in utero, study shows. Parents outraged, Council wants probe to see whether public was misled during water crisis (click 'See also'). Blood lead levels and number of potentially affected children both considerably higher than initially reported by city, federal officials.

By Carol D. Leonnig

The Washington Post 2009-01-27

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Economy, wars, climate change usurp food safety reform efforts

For Congress, food safety slides behind economy, wars, climate change and health care, though Illinois senator is expected to reintroduce bipartisan food safety bill next month. GAO has for the last three years ranked food safety among biggest 'high-risk' challenges. And: Government, which scatters oversight among 13 agencies, seems likely to depend on industry to police itself, food supply (click 'See also').

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ Today 2009-01-22

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Seeking a solid food safey system via Obama

Patchwork food safety system needs reform, say advocates, who look to Obama for solution. Among ideas: merging FDA, USDA systems into single food agency; replacing voluntary industry guidelines with rules; recall authority for FDA and USDA; more inspections of food processing plants, which means more staff.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-01-10

Opinion: Melamine links industrial waste to U.S. food production

Melamine has pervaded U.S. food system. It's added to fertilizer and accumulates in the farm fields. Last year, millions ate chicken that had been fed tainted gluten from China; Tyson Foods butchered hogs that had eaten tainted feed too. Meat was not recalled. China melamine scandal is opportunity for U.S. to pass fertilizer standards and to test for chemical.

By James E. McWilliams

The New York Times 2008-11-17

Risk study on baby bottle chemical too flawed, panel says

Panel, in highly critical report, recommends that FDA redo its risk assessment of BPA, the leaching chemical in food can linings, hard plastic baby bottles. Favorable draft report used flawed methods and ignored evidence linking bisphenol A to cancer, diabetes, possibly brain development in infants, advisory board said.

By Annys Shin

The Washington Post 2008-10-28

Opinion: Biotech animals need ample oversight

Congress must ensure that FDA has budget for transparent assessments of genetically engineered animal products. New standards, which require producers to show that inserted genes do not harm animal's health and that any food from genetically engineered animal is safe to eat, are far more rigorous than agency's current oversight of biotech crops and cloned animals.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-10-03

Opinion: Capitalism plus regulatory vacuum tempts scandals

American food supply is flawed but China's present is our past. Tainted milk scandal mirrors New York's in the mid 19th century, when up to 8,000 babies died each year. Large-scale adulteration requires fast-growing get-rich-quick economy coupled with regulatory vacuum. Scandals are symptomatic of a deep failure of politics.

By Bee Wilson

The New York Times 2008-09-30

Food-borne illness joke falls flat in Canada campaign

Attempt at black humor over listeriosis outbreak keeps health crisis an issue in Canada campaign. Political opponents, some relatives of victims want food safety official fired after he made joke about death by a 'thousand cold cuts.'

By Ian Austen

The New York Times 2008-09-19

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After listeria deaths, food safety becomes Canadian election topic

Food safety becomes election issue after Canada's deadly listeria outbreak; Liberal Leader calls for resignation of agriculture minister. One issue is new rules requiring inspectors to spend more time going over records of tests and tasks at processing plants, which leaves too little time on physical inspections, union leader says. And: Meat slicing machines likely source of contamination (click 'See also').

By Bill Curry, Jane Taber and Rheal Seguin

The Globe and Mail (Canada) 2008-09-05

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Opinion: Has food industry learned lesson over salmonella losses?

There's too much we don't know about what we eat, and food industry is largely to blame. After 9/11, food industry spent $2.6 million lobbying against stronger food safety rules that would have required source tracing. Bush administration backed business; this season, tomato growers alone lost $250 million so far in salmonella outbreak.

The editors

Reno Gazette-Journal (NV) 2008-07-28

Opinion: Tracing food, from farm to fork

Salmonella outbreak suspected in salsa ingredients shows it's time to put existing technology to work, tracing foods from the fields to the dinner table. Congress must protect our food supply by linking traceability with mandatory recall authority in current globalization bill under consideration.

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-07-08

Food safety crisis

Ancient food safety system endangers U.S., new report finds. Gaps include old laws, poor use of resources, and inconsistencies among agencies, leaving 76 million sick each year. Report recommends one food safety agency which would inspect foods throughout the entire food chain, update inspections as needed; establish standard practices for recall and penalties, and improve inspection of imported foods.

By Steven Reinberg

U.S. News & World Report 2008-04-30

Safest food?

Despite bipartisan claims that America's food is the 'safest in the world,' other countries say the same, and USDA last year struggled with record number of e.coli-related recalls. Most foodborne illnesses go unreported, so government agencies must come up with estimates. The World Health Organization is studying the prevalence of food-borne illness worldwide, with results due in 2011.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2008-04-20

Food safety legislation

To improve food safety, House panel wants all produce labels to show country of origin. It also wants food manufacturers to publicly identify origin of all ingredients. Lawmakers say all food facilities should be inspected once every four years; grocery industry lobbyist questions whether Congress should 'arbitrarily increase the price of food.'

By Kevin Freking

The Associated Press 2008-04-17

Compelling testimony

Congressional subcommittee plans to compel Hallmark/Westland executive to testify about beef recall. If committee authorizes subpoena, Steve Mendell will be called to testify on Wednesday, March 12, at a hearing titled 'Regulatory failure: must Americans live with unsafe food?''

By Dena Bunis

The Orange County Register 2008-03-03

Mad cow and massive recall

Canada confirms case of mad cow disease; slaughterhouse executive skips congressional hearing on food safety. Hallmark/Westland beef recall continues. General Mills recalls 35,000 cases of Progresso Italian wedding soup; Nestlé Prepared Foods Co., recalls 49,000 cases of Hot Pockets sandwiches. Farmer John's, a Hormel subsidiary, will be recalling hot dogs and cotto salami.

By Jane Zhang, Janet Adamy and David Kesmodel

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-02-27

Beef, food safety and school lunches

Hallmark/Westland beef recall becomes flashpoint in debate over meat safety and quality of USDA school lunches. Lawmakers begin hearings this week. To show fitness for food supply, cows must walk up an inclined serpentine 90-foot chute before being killed, but video footage showed workers using electrical-shock devices, forklifts and high-pressure water hoses to make sick or injured cattle stand.

By David Kesmodel and Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-02-25

Toward food safety

Representative Rosa DeLauro hopes that sustained public outcry over 'collapsed food safety system' will advance her Safe Food Act - legislation that would establish a new federal department for food safety, combining work of 15 current agencies into one. Others argue that a new bureaucracy isn't the answer; Congress should fund existing inspection programs.

By Jesse A. Hamilton

The Hartford Courant 2008-02-21

See also 

Separating sales and safety

Food safety and agriculture promotion and/or sales are mutually exclusive goals; USDA should be stripped of food safety oversight, says lawmaker. Citing beef recall after cow-abuse video at slaughterhouse that supplied school lunch program, Rosa DeLauro, who chairs House panel that oversees USDA funding, calls for single food safety agency.

By Jacob Adelman

The Associated Press; Star-Telegram (TX) 2008-02-20

Meat safety problems

Lawmakers, consumer advocates call for better meat inspection standards after largest meat recall in history. Critics say the failure points up problems with both food safety and animal welfare, as well as USDA's rigid and antiquated inspection system. Beef was recalled after Humane Society secretly filmed workers abusing sick cows at Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse that supplies school lunch program.

By David Kesmodel, Lauren Etter and Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-02-19

Number, please?

Mad cow scare of 2003 sped development of a system for tracking U.S. livestock from birth to slaughter (plus vet trips and county fairs). But many resent heavy-handedness of states and USDA with "voluntary" program; family farmers complain that they must pay to track each cow while factory farms track herds; privacy advocates compare invasiveness to Big Brother.

By Nicole Gaouette

Los Angeles Times 2008-01-14

Salad daze

With no clear source of 2006 e.coli outbreak in spinach, California's leafy greens farmers desperately seek guidance on providing clean produce. They are caught between food safety concerns and environmental sensitivity. Do they improve washing regimen? Erect barriers and destroy wildlife habitat? Or remove themselves from nearby cattle feedlots?

By Carl Nagin

California Coast & Ocean; San Francisco Chronicle 2007-08-23

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Opinion: At our expense

The Bush administration, responsible for safety of our food, has instead spent years mollycoddling that industry. Now, as endless recalls erode trust at the grocery store, suspicion grows that agencies charged with our wellbeing have been whittled to incompetence. Congress must press for overhaul of consumer protection system.

The editors

The New York Times 2007-11-26

Raw controversy

Raw controversy

After North Carolina decides to dye raw milk gray to discourage human consumption, a legislator begins work on a bill that would halt the plan; new bill would follow one that would legalize dairy shares, which allow customers to buy part ownership in a milk-producing animal so they can have raw milk.

By Suzanne Nelson

The Independent Weekly (NC) 2007-10-31

Opinion: Label it

Bill requiring labels for cloned meats and milk is a small step in the right direction; FDA's movement toward no-label approval based on part, from biotech company data, is a slippery slope toward other questionable biotech products including human genes.

By Osagie K. Obasogie and Pete Shanks

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-10-05

Port reduction?

Latest proposal to safeguard safety of food would close hundreds of ports to entry, siphoning edibles through only 13 sites; grocery industry, importers and exporters predict trade disruption and soaring grocery prices.

By Andrew Bridges

The Associated Press; Washington Post 2007-09-26

Not so safe:

With imports flooding the borders and FDA food safety staff winnowed away over the last decade, agents can sometimes only provide a cursory inspection of a listed import; they inspect less than one percent of actual products.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 0000-00-00

Water problem:

Cholera epidemic, possibly from a sewage-poisoned well, hits northern Iraq, with nearly 4,000 cases suspected; Sulaimaniya juice bars shut down and restaurants told to stop serving vegetables that may have been washed in polluted water.

By Sherko Raouf

Reuters; Scientific American 2007-08-29

Modified sugar:

Genetically modified sugar beet seed designed to resist Monsanto herbicide is gaining popularity among growers and processors, including American Crystal Sugar Co.; Wyoming Sugar Co., and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; farmers must pay $60 premium per acre, and GMO sugar won't carry special label.

Associated Press; CNN 2007-08-22