01/09/2011 - The incredible, edible egg - or at least those coming from two rodent-infested Iowa egg farms - caused 1,937 traceable illnesses from Salmonella enteritidis last year, which means the contaminated eggs probably sickened nearly 60,000 people nationwide.
Thankfully, there's no evidence anyone died from the outbreak - unlike other recent outbreaks linked to peanuts and packaged celery, blamed in at least 14 deaths. But there was also no evidence that one of the farms, Wright County Egg, had ever been inspected by the Food and Drug Administration.
There are no straight lines in Washington - ask anyone who has driven there, or tried to accomplish anything big. Still, there's probably a direct connection between last summer's massive recall of half a billion eggs and last month's remarkable turn of events, in which Congress passed a major advance in consumer protection with a bipartisan majority that overwhelmed the usual rants against regulation and efforts at a Senate filibuster.
Lots of factors helped push the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act over the finish line more than a dozen years after it was first proposed - including an unusual alliance that teamed consumer advocates, victims groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Philadelphia's Pew Charitable Trusts.
Read the full article Consumer 10.0: Food Safety Finally Gets Its Due on The Philadelphia Inquirer's Web site.