Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Publisher’s Platform: GOP’s Love for Lawyers

You really have to wonder about Republicans. They always say they hate those damn ambulance-chasing trial lawyers but, short of sending flowers, defunding food safety is the best gift ever.

Cutting the budgets for the CDC, FDA and FSIS will only mean more food poisoning outbreaks, more illnesses, more lawsuits, and more money in my pocket —  to give to Democrats who want to drive foodborne illness down.

Here are this week’s outbreaks:

As of March 22, 2011, 12 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama have been reported from Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), and Maryland (1 case). Reported dates of illness onset range from February 5, 2011, to February 23, 2011. Ill persons range in age from less than 1-year-old to 68 years old, with a median age of 12 years old. Sixty-six percent are male. Among ill persons, two have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

On March 22, 2011, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. voluntarily recalled 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama. The cantaloupes were distributed through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  See also, History of Salmonella Lawsuits and Litigation

The CDC estimates that over 1 million Salmonella infections occur annually in the United States, according to a 2011 report. Of these cases, approximately 20,000 result in hospitalization and 378 result in death. This means that Salmonella accounts for almost 30 percent of foodborne illness-related deaths each year.  Complication like Reactive Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome may occur.

As of March 22, 2011, 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli serotype O157:H7 have been reported from Maryland (3 cases), New Jersey (2 cases), North Carolina (1 case), Ohio (2 cases) and Pennsylvania (6 cases). Reported dates of illness onset range from January 10, 2011 to February 15, 2011. Ill persons range in age from 1 to 70 years, with a median age of 13.5 years. Seventy-nine percent are male. Among 13 ill persons for whom information is known, 3 or 23%, reported being hospitalized, and none have reported hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is associated with E. coli O157:H7 infections. No deaths have been reported.

Palmyra Bologna Company, of Palmyra, PA, is recalling approximately 23,000 pounds of Lebanon bologna products that may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.  See also, History of E. coli Lawsuits and Litigation.

 

The CDC estimates that there are about 75,000 E. coli cases every year.  At least 2,000 Americans are hospitalized, and about 60 die as a direct result of E. coli infection and its complications.  Complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome may occur.

Hmm, I wonder if I should become a Republican?

© Food Safety News
  • jimmann

    Bill,
    Please be reminded that the primary accountability for food safety is in the hands of operators as it should be. If more legislation was the answer, everyone would be for it.
    The Model Food Code grows and grows without corresponding improvements in foodborne illness rates.
    All your efforts, mine and that of operators, suppliers, legislators, regulators, academia and the public should be risk-based. Then we would be all working on the same thing with a much improved chance of success.
    If the risk is from a fellow diner or an ill employee preparing your burger, do you really want congress to budget an inspector for each restaurant?
    Better system control is the answer and operators are heavily investing, using new technologies as they become available.I do agree that more can be and should be done.
    The risk will never be zero. Customer care, business continuity and the fear of facing you in the courtroom are the three drivers that do more than any legislation, old or new.
    Perhaps you can also help change consumer behaviors to accept irradiated beef, pasteurized eggs and to use the hand sanitizers now at the entrance of leading restaurants.

  • Bill,
    I dare not blame one party or the other for outbreaks. What about the roles of the local health departments?
    The fact that there is NOT a uniformed set of codes that all states follow, (adding complexity to the system), there is not a standard evaluation by health departments (some states are much more in-depth than others). Scoring systems are not standardized etc……
    What about owner/operators?

  • JDG

    From the article:
    “On March 22, 2011, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. voluntarily recalled 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama.”
    This is evidence that completely contradicts your entire editorial. It supports the market based approach to food safety. Del Monte, without added regulation or extra costs to taxpayers, recalled food products before they became a problem and it was done far quicker and more efficienlty than any bureaucracy could ever accomplish.
    “Cutting the budgets for the CDC, FDA and FSIS will only mean more food poisoning outbreaks, more illnesses, more lawsuits, and more money in my pocket”
    Care to provide actual evidence? Is there any formula revealing that decreasing government funding by ‘x’ reduces food safety/illnesses by ‘y’? Your random statistics on foodborne illnesses are just that….random. In fact, I can propose a logically valid argument with these same statistics that is opposite of your argument (without party-politics):
    -The CDC, FDA and FSIS are supposed to keep our food supply safe yet last year there were 75,000 cases of E. coli, 1 million Salmonella cases, etc. These agencies are completely incompetent and their negligence contributes to millions of foodborne illnesses and thousands of deaths each yearin America. Taxpayer money would be better spent on new solutions instead of expanding failed government policy and institutions.
    As an inspector in the industry, added regulation does not and will not make food safer but rather incentivizes loop holes. Food is made safer with training and education.
    I am not arguing to dissolve the current regulatory schema. I am merely pointing out your deeply flawed and false logic that exposes your true colors as a shill for the Democratic party instead of someone who truly cares about food safety. Do the food safety industry a favor and stop with the juvenile political pandering.

  • Jim Mann

    Bill,
    Please be reminded that the primary accountability for food safety is in the hands of operators as it should be. If more legislation was the answer, everyone would be for it.
    The Model Food Code grows and grows without corresponding improvements in foodborne illness rates.
    All your efforts, mine and that of operators, suppliers, legislators, regulators, academia and the public should be risk-based. Then we would be all working on the same thing with a much improved chance of success.
    If the risk is from a fellow diner or an ill employee preparing your burger, do you really want congress to budget an inspector for each restaurant?
    Better system control is the answer and operators are heavily investing, using new technologies as they become available.I do agree that more can be and should be done.
    The risk will never be zero. Customer care, business continuity and the fear of facing you in the courtroom are the three drivers that do more than any legislation, old or new.
    Perhaps you can also help change consumer behaviors to accept irradiated beef, pasteurized eggs and to use the hand sanitizers now at the entrance of leading restaurants.