11/16/2008 - A lack of coordination and communication between government agencies over the handling of this year's salmonella outbreak may have unfairly kept the focus on tomatoes and caused unnecessary economic harm to the industry, according to a report being released Monday by the Produce Safety Project.
The project, an initiative of the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts at Georgetown University, aims to spur changes in food safety policy and the public health system.
While the report stops short of vindicating the tomato industry, it points out several instances in which evidence pointed to other causes of the outbreak that federal officials didn't focus on early.
''There's a lot of information that raises question about the identification of tomatoes,'' said Jim O'Hara, director of the Produce Safety Project. ``It seems clear that earlier than they did, public health officials should have said there were other food vehicles identified as a potential cause. They needed to be much more transparent.''
Read the full article Salmonella Scare Bungled, Study Finds at the Miami Herald's Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Produce Safety Project's Web site, or visit the Produce Safety Project on PewHealth.org.