Thursday, August 30, 2012

As GOP Looks To Cut Food Safety Budget, Tainted Mangoes Sicken 100 Americans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 103 people have been sickened by a salmonella outbreak linked to tainted mangoes that were grown in Mexico and circulated by a California-based company:

Illnesses were first confirmed July 1, and the majority of victims are in California, the CDC said. 
The bacterium found is salmonella Braenderup, the same type of germ that has sickened 22 people in Canada through tainted mangoes, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. [...] 
The CDC didn’t disclose the origin of the mangoes that sickened people in the U.S., but California-based produce distributor Splendid Products LLC is recalling Daniella brand mangoes grown in Mexico that it shipped to stores in the U.S., a company official said Wednesday.

Outbreaks such as this one would be much harder to detect and contain if House Republicans get their way. The Obama administration requested $4.5 billion for the Food and Drug Administration for 2013, since the agency is implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, the most comprehensive update of America’s food safety laws in years. The House Republican budget, however, provides $3.8 billion, continuing the GOP’s attempts to undermine the new law. The Office of Management and Budget called the GOP’s level of funding “harmful” to food safety regulations.

These cuts would come as foodborne illness rates are on the rise. Of five key pathogens tracked by the CDC, just one saw a decrease in infections between 2007 and 2011. Each year, one out of six Americans suffer from a foodborne illness, with 128,000 resulting in hospitalization and 3,000 resulting in death.

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