Food Safety

Summer's Salmonella summons scrutiny

November 25, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Weaknesses in food safety policy, organization and communications were all displayed during summer’s outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul, according to a report released by the Produce Safety Project (PSP), an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts at Georgetown University.

The report, Breakdown: Lessons to be Learned from the 2008 Salmonella Saintpaul Outbreak, reviews the public record of last summer’s Salmonella outbreak that caused more than 1,400 people to become sick across the US.

Congressional leaders and produce industry representatives called for public health officials to analyze the public health system’s response to the outbreak. The report frames questions such a review should consider. In particular, the report focuses on food safety policy; the public health system’s organization, capacity and effectiveness in the outbreak response; and risk communications with the media and public.

Highlights and recommendations include:

  • The need for FDA to use its existing statutory authorities to establish mandatory and enforceable safety standards for fresh produce. While FDA officials said the outbreak showed the need for these standards, they said Congress needs to pass legislation to grant FDA explicit authority to do so.
  • The need for organizational reforms throughout the public health system for a more coordinated outbreak response. The report raises questions about how timely and effectively data was shared between public health agencies and how it contributed to a delayed identification of jalapeño and Serrano peppers as a vehicle for Salmonella Saintpaul.
  • The need to have established and unified risk communication plans in place before an outbreak. The report documents dueling public health messages from various agencies announcing the outbreak and questions why CDC changed its presentation of data numerous times in the middle of the outbreak.

“Many of these problems have been identified for years by expert body after expert body,” said Jim O’Hara, director of PSP. “If we pass up this opportunity to learn from this most recent outbreak, we will keep repeating the same costly mistakes-for public health and industry alike.”

For more information online, visit www.producesafetyproject.org.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png