Minnesota May Have Saved Your Innards

In detecting outbreaks of tainted food, some states are far superior
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 8:16 AM CDT
It was Minnesota epidemiologists who figured out that a salmonella outbreak stemmed from tainted peanuts. Without them, disease-causing nuts might still be sold.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – When it comes to salmonella and other food-borne illnesses, federal agencies are rightly putting money into preventing future outbreaks, but few agencies are focused on detecting them. That task falls mostly to state and local officials, which means the ability to connect several sick citizens and call it a salmonella outbreak varies widely by state, the New York Times reports.

Epidemiologists in Minnesota were the ones who figured out that peanuts, lettuce, and Banquet pot pies were all culprits in various outbreaks. Officials in Kentucky have a different reputation: one of ignoring food-poisoning cases or shoving them off on other districts. And unless more federal funding appears, shrinking budgets will only make the bad states worse, experts say.