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Medical News & Perspectives
June 25, 2008

Report: Improvements Needed to Protect Food Supply From Potential Threats

JAMA. 2008;299(24):2845. doi:10.1001/jama.299.24.2845

While the United States has one of the safest food supplies in the world, new food sources, changes in production and distribution methods, importation, and the threat of deliberate contamination suggest that more needs to be done to protect the public from foodborne disease, according to a new report.

The report, issued on April 30 by Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, argues that the nation's food security system has major flaws in its ability to protect consumers. The group says that the system has not been fundamentally modernized in more than 100 years, has inadequate resources to fight modern bacterial threats, and has been crippled by reductions in the numbers of food inspectors and scientists at agencies responsible for food safety. In addition, the group noted, 15 federal agencies operating under at least 30 laws are involved in food safety, with no single department responsible for the overall protection of the food supply.