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The Washington Post reports on changing philosophies in the realm of food safety inspection. Here’s how it frames the issues:

“These days, the bulk of what Americans eat - seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, shelled eggs and almost everything except meat and poultry - is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And the FDA inspects the plants it oversees on average about once a decade ... The FDA’s approach is partly by necessity: The agency lacks the money to marshal more inspectors ... The agency concentrates its limited inspections on food products that have the worst track record on safety — seafood, for example — and on companies with a history of problems. It puts most of its efforts into responding to outbreaks after the fact, using genetic fingerprinting and other scientific tools to track contaminants back to their source in hopes of stopping any further spread.

“The USDA and the FDA are under pressure to overhaul their dramatically different procedures, in essence bringing them closer together. There’s a growing recognition among food-safety experts that the government can be smarter about tackling food-borne hazards that sicken one in six Americans each year and kill about 3,000.”
KC's View:
This always strikes me as a ticking time bomb. I’m not exactly convinced of the efficacy of federal agencies in this area, but we’ve got to have an appropriately funded, efficient and effective way to monitor an increasingly complex food distribution system that seems vulnerable to problems both accidental and deliberate.