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Too many regulators in kitchen?

February 6, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

Peanut butter is the subject of the current food safety scare throughout the United States - and with good reason. At last count, more than 500 Americans had been sickened by salmonella traced to a Georgia producer of peanut products. Eight people have died.

Most people have nothing about which to worry. Federal agencies have explained that major national brands of peanut butter are perfectly safe.

But no one has yet made it clear how salmonella from the Georgia plant affected so many people before it could be tracked down.

A mish-mash of federal agencies play various roles in attempting to ensure that the food we eat is safe. The National Academy of Sciences has identified 15 separate agencies involved in the work - sometimes with conflicting missions.

The NAS has recommended that food safety should be the responsibility of a single agency. Clearly, that would improve efficiency - and safety. It is a suggestion that Congress should consider in order to provide better protection for Americans.



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