FDA Knew About Food Dangers

Overwhelmed food-safety arm didn't follow up on peanut butter, spinach
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2007 8:24 AM CDT
This is a Friday, Feb. 16, 2007 file picture of returned jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter at a super market in Atlanta. When Peter Pan peanut butter returns to stores in July 2007, some consumers first...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The FDA knew for years about problems at the peanut butter plant and spinach farms that led to major disease outbreaks, but took minimal steps to redress them. The agency's food safety arm can't keep up with the explosion in the amount of food it is supposed to regulate, the Post reports, and expects processors to police themselves.

Robert Brackett, head of the FDA's food safety arm, says the agency is stuck in the 1950s; safety should be built into manufacturers' systems, "rather than us chasing after them." Critics say the agency has been undermined by the administration's distrust of regulation. Congressional hearings begin tomorrow on the unprecedented number of food recalls lately.