Back in the day, slaughterhouses were the ones grabbing the attention when it came to health concerns and the need for inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a regular basis to ensure food was safe. Now, the Food and Drug Administration checks in on most of what we eat — and they only inspect plants around once a decade, says one report.
The Washington Post looks into the recent pressure on the FDA to change how it inspects plants where seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, shelled eggs and other non-meat and poultry items are processed.
Recent outbreaks of bacteria and other instances of contaminated food linked to foods like cantaloupe and spinach have prompted a call for the FDA to work more on prevention, rather than just responding to problems. A new law from Congress a year ago told the FDA they must make that kind of shift. But the lack of money to fund the inspections needed to make sure companies are up to snuff.
It’s important, as the Center for Disease Control reported last year that fruits and nuts were linked to the most illnesses, followed by vegetables that grow on vines and stalks.
If meat can’t leave a plant without a stamp from the USDA, perhaps it’s time the other food we eat is also required to undergo daily inspection at the source.