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FDA Investigating Salmonella Outbreak


According to a November 17th posting on Food Safety, the Food and Drug Administration is investigating an extensive outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium.  There is no information on the vehicle of infection, location or source.  It is considered interesting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not posted any report of an outbreak.


While it is acknowledged that premature disclosure of non-verified data can compromise investigations and give rise to unjustified rejection of implicated products, greater transparency, especially with respect to the location of those infected would be helpful.


Two hundred and sixty or more confirmed cases implies at least 2,000 actual infections that should justify release of at least the areas where infections have occurred. If there is any foot-dragging, those responsible for investigation should be held to account since, if a common source is responsible for the outbreak, it should be rapidly identified with product recall.


Lack of transparency without clear justification does not serve consumers.  The FDA track record is less than stellar and accordingly, a dedicated food safety agency, combining the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the FSIS and the FDA with respect to foodborne disease outbreaks, would be a more productive alternative than divided jurisdiction.