USDA Budget Cut Could Slash 80 Percent of Produce Testing
The nation’s largest pathogen testing program may shut down this month
Budget cuts will kill safety program that caught Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria outbreaks
Food safety advocates are frantically trying to save a little-known produce inspection program that accounts for 80 percent of all government testing of produce. According to Food Safety News, MDP tests an average of four times as many produce samples each year as the FDA, and eliminating it would cut government testing by 80 percent.
From 2009 to 2012, MDP (USDA’s Microbiological Data Program) found Salmonella 100 times, E. coli O157:H7 twice, and Listeria monocytogenes 8 times. Over the same time period, the program sparked 23 Salmonella recalls, 2 E. coli O157:H7 recalls, and 5 Listeria recalls.
This political hot potato pits food safety advocates against growers and the United Fresh Produce Association and the Obama administration and Congress may face a backlash.
Following are links to this story: