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Report Casts Doubt on Safety of U.S. Food Supply

posted on February 22, 2002

Cargill Pork Incorporated has agreed to pay a $1 million fine and costs associated with the illegal dumping of hog waste. The dumping at the Cargill hog farm near Martinsburg, Missouri, killed more than 50-thousand fish and despoiled a five-mile stretch of the Loutre River. And in neighboring Kentucky, the Sierra Club is taking on several Tyson Foods-affiliated chicken farms. The environmental group claims the amount of ammonia generated at the farms is enough to require reporting under toxic substance laws.

Elsewhere, on the health and nutrition front, a coalition of scientists warns in a new report that when it comes to food safety, zero risk is NOT a reality.


Report Casts Doubt on Safety of U.S. Food Supply

Recognizing that food safety is a fundamental and continuing issue, a group of scientists released a report, this week, casting an ominous cloud over America's food supply.

The study suggests that dangerous bacteria are going to be a problem for the nation's food supply as long as contaminated products continue to be imported and microbes already here develop into new forms.

The scientists also noted the increasing use of manure as fertilizer increases the risk of spreading harmful bacteria to food either by contamination of irrigation water, or by direct contact with crops.

The study was commissioned by the Institute of Food Technologists, a not-for-profit scientific group based in Chicago.

The scientists also cautioned against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock, citing "a growing body of evidence" that agricultural use of antibiotics is causing bacteria to become resistant to drugs.

Imported fruits and vegetables were mentioned prominently in the report. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration, or F-D-A, inspects less than 2-percent of imported fruit and vegetables.


Tags: agriculture food food safety news