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FDA contemplates California-like measures to combat food-borne illness

In the wake of numerous food-borne illness outbreaks, the FDA is considering preventive measures such as have been adopted by the State of California.  A recent Government Accounting Office report authored in response to the multiple 2006 outbreaks involving spinach, lettuce and other foodstuffs, criticized the FDA  for poor enforcement, inadequate staffing and too-infrequent inspections.  The head of the Bush FDA  apparently does not dispute the report's findings;  he says that his agency needs a Congressional mandate and suggests that it has been attempting to focus more on prevention, rather than simply reacting to food contamination.  This news is timely in Northern Michigan, where authorities are currently investigating an e-coli outbreak in Petoskey which may be associated with iceberg lettuce.

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