12/29/2008 - When president-elect Barack Obama takes office next month, he will bring with him a long reform agenda. Some initiatives have already been made public: a jobs program, a huge public-works effort, the bailout of two Detroit automakers, and an enormous infusion of cash into major banks and Wall Street.
But simmering in the background is a substantial grassroots movement that is pressing the new administration to enact change within the government as well, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And a key part of any reform may involve correcting the deficiencies in what is now a complex and fragmented system for tracing contaminated produce items to their source.
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In recent months, calls for reform of the food safety system have come from all directions. . . In November, the Produce Safety Project of Georgetown University (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts) issued an after-action report on the Salmonella outbreak that said the FDA has not exercised its authority to set mandatory, preventive safety standards for produce, though it has done so for seafood and eggs.
Read the full article Food Policy Reformers Seek Improved Produce Tracking on the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP) 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Produce Safety Project's Web site, or visit the Produce Safety Project on PewHealth.org.