Saturday, July 05, 2008

CDC & FDA: How Not To Do Emergeny Response

So you think FEMA is the only federal agency that does not know how to deal with an emergency? Enter the CDC and the FDA.

A few hundred people get ill from supposedly eating raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes, contaminated with Salmonella.

Their response and action was to issue warnings and indirectly force stores and restaurants to pull raw tomatoes and related products from their shelves and menus. The results cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

They recently admitted that it may not be tomatoes after all. It turns out that the problem is more likely to be salsa because many of the victims had eaten some. Not everyone, just some.

Their latest victim or cause is jalapeno peppers.

According to the CDC, since April, 943 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. We all feel for these people, realizing it could just as easily have been us getting ill.

Why do they need to do this research in the open, causing economical havoc all along the way? Speculation as to cause and effect does no one any good when done in such an open manner.

Salmonella is a feces-borne bacterium that can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. I am not going to point the finger at any processing plant or nation. But it is obvious one or more of these plants does a terrible job of sanitation, namely of its workers.

Not having any tracking system for the source of produce is a core problem. And not having some standardize sanitation oversight of processing plants is an issue, especially on a global scale. With much produce being imported, we are at the mercy of the exporting nation for their sanitation processes. But do we really want the governments more involved in this?

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