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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    The food inspectors are not doing their job

    U.S. regulators issued 72 letters in the first eight months of the year warning food suppliers of safety violations, the fewest in a decade, even after tainted spinach and peanut butter sickened hundreds of Americans.

    The number of Food and Drug Administration warnings was a quarter of the comparable 2001 total, public records analyzed by Bloomberg showed. The agency cut its food inspection staff 28 percent from four years ago and visited fewer of the 329,000 facilities in the U.S. and abroad for which it is responsible.

    In the past 13 months, there have been nationwide recalls of spinach contaminated with E.coli and peanut butter tainted with salmonella. The FDA issued warnings that seafood from China may contain cancer-causing additives. Reduced FDA oversight increases the danger that unsafe food will reach consumers, causing illness or death, former regulators say.

    ``The potential for greater risk is there,'' Mark McClellan, who was FDA commissioner under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2004, said in an interview. ``Limited resources are stretching the agency too far'' after managers diverted staff to drugs and medical devices.


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