As the FDA assures consumers that the recent salmonella epidemic is almost over, the produce industry is furious at the government for conducting a long investigation that cost tomato and pepper growers millions.
LA Times: Four months after an outbreak of salmonella hospitalized hundreds, forced groceries to toss out tomatoes and peppers by the thousands, infuriated fruit and vegetable growers and puzzled consumers, health authorities said Thursday that the epidemic was about over…
Several produce executives accused the Food and Drug Administration of running a lengthy, uncertain investigation that shifted suspicion from tomatoes to jalapeno and serrano peppers, shattering consumer confidence…
American produce executives griped that at the beginning of the investigation health officials zeroed in too quickly on domestic tomatoes and refused to consider other possible sources. The FDA also shunned offers by produce producers to supply information that could have helped narrow the trace-back, they said.
A bill introduced in July by Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) asks the Department of Agriculture to compensate tomato growers and packers nationwide for $100 million in losses relating to the outbreak.
“Everybody agrees that this went on way too long and was unfocused, and that the public’s health was not served,” said Lisa Lochridge, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assn.
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