Uncertainty and food safety investigations - Part I

2 minute read
11 November 2011


This article was originally published in the October 2011 issue of Food in Canada and is republished with the permission of the publisher.

It's not easy being a food safety investigator in the face of deep uncertainty.

Consider two recent cases. In the U.S., the largest foodborne outbreak in the last decade involved a rare strain of Salmonella Saintpaul thought to originate from tomatoes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acted quickly, providing a public warning to avoid eating tomatoes until its investigation was complete. After several weeks and hundreds of tests and interviews, the FDA concluded that the problem was likely not tomatoes but rather hot peppers. Politicians rushed to microphones attacking the FDA for "destroying" the tomato industry. Of course, these are the same people who would have been outraged if tomatoes had been the source of the Salmonella and the FDA had not acted quickly.

Read the full article - Uncertainty and food safety investigations - Part II

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