What's wrong with our food?

Capitol Hill

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: We've had a string of problems with some of the food we eat. And when I say we, I'm including the cats and dogs. First we had the E. coli outbreak in the bagged spinach, then we had contaminated peanut butter, and of course the big pet food recall. Today, a House committee holds a hearing on what's going on with the food supply. More now from Steve Henn.


STEVE HENN: Each year, contaminated food makes roughly 76 million Americans sick — 300,000 end up at the hospital and 5,000 die.

Chris Waldrop is at the Consumer Federation of America.

CHRIS WALDROP: There are definite cracks in the system and we need to address them. If we don't, we're gonna continue to see outbreaks. The food supply is not gonna be as safe as it really needs to be.

Since 2004, the number of reported E. Coli cases has increased 50 percent. One culprit: filthy fresh veggies.

Tom Stenzel is president of the United Fresh Produce Association.

TOM STENZEL: The public expects an independent third party to tell us what is safe enough.

Right now, U.S. produce growers aren't regulated. The FDA doesn't have clear authority to inspect farms until after a problem's occurred. And even Stenzel says the industry needs regulation and $100 million for new inspectors to do the job.

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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