FDA not improving to curb bad record

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: This week, manufacturers recalled two million pounds of pistachios. What's surprising is after decades of steady improvements, U.S. food safety is no longer improving. From Washington, Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.


Steve Henn: Back in 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture kicked off a major campaign to increase the safety of the nation's meat supply. According to officials at the Center for Disease Control, those efforts were a success, and reduced salmonella contamination in meat and poultry.

But the USDA doesn't ensure the safety of produce like spinach or peanuts and pistachios. Those foods are inspected by the Food and Drug Administration, and its record over the last few years hasn't been so hot.

Chris Waldrop at the consumer Federation of America says globalization has made the FDA's job much more difficult.

Chris Waldrop: There isn't really a system in place to assure that those foods are being produced in a safe manner before they arrive at our shores.

Although the FDA has opened offices in China, Latin America, Europe and India, Waldrop says it
s still playing catch-up. And according to the CDC, improvements in food safety have stalled in recent years.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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