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US: National food safety centers attacked over outbreak handlingLast week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its final report on the 2011 E:coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.
The report says that the outbreak caused 58 illnesses across 9 states, including 33 hospitalisations. Though the media have named the organisations they allege to be responsible, the report refers only to Grocery Chain A and Farm A.
"At this point it is public knowledge that Schnucks and Vaughan Foods had a role in this outbreak," said foodborne illness attorney and food safety advocate William Marler. “"The CDC states that it saves lives, protects people, and saves money through prevention. How does trying to keep the public in the dark accomplish any of these objectives?
"By keeping these companies’ names secret, the CDC may be trying to protect businesses, but is ultimately doing the public a disservice by quashing important data that could otherwise help consumers make informed decisions about what to eat and where to shop."
The CDC came under similar fire over its January handling of an outbreak of salmonella. The agency identified the source of this outbreak, but refused to indicate which restaurant was involved, also labelling it as Restaurant Chain A.
Publication date: 3/28/2012
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