Thursday, April 9, 2009

Geylang Serai food poisoning - time to review our food safety procedures?

Just want to highlight a coincidental publication of a report about US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comments on food safety.

"EFFORTS to improve food safety in the United States have 'plateaued,' exposing the need for an overhaul of the nation's food safety system, government health officials said on Thursday.

Despite work to improve food safety in recent years, the number of foodborne infections remained steady, with little change in the past few years, suggesting fundamental problems are not being solved.

'Progress has plateaued. This indicates to us that further measures are needed to prevent more foodborne illness,' Dr Robert Tauxe of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in a telephone briefing."

The findings were outlined Thursday in a new CDC report on foodborne illness.

Following excerpt from CNN report.

"The FDA is working to keep consumers informed of the latest food recalls and food safety initiatives, and is hiring more scientists, investigators and inspectors as part of a wide-reaching effort to protect the food supply, the agency said. The report underscores the need for modernization of the system, an FDA official said.

"The FDA is embarking on an aggressive and proactive approach in protecting and enforcing the safety of the U.S. food supply," said Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods. "The FoodNet data indicates a need for a different approach to safeguard the food supply, and the FDA is committed to make the necessary changes to keep unsafe products out of the marketplace before they reach consumers."

Florida, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts are working on a pilot program in which teams work with the FDA to react more quickly to potential threats to the food supply, Acheson said. Three additional states are expected to join the program this year.

The report also found that none of the Healthy People 2010 targets, set by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2000 to reduce foodborne illness and death by 2010, had been met last year.

"Lack of progress in reaching Healthy People 2010 goals for foodborne pathogens is not acceptable," said Nancy Donley, president of Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP). Her 6-year-old son Alex died after eating contaminated hamburger in 1993.

"It is clear that current food safety regulatory programs are not effective in reducing the toll of foodborne illness," she said. "We need the setting of strict microbial standards and improved government oversight and inspection of our food supply to ensure that other lives are not cut short and other families will not have to suffer as mine has."

So what now, MOH and NEA?

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