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April 1, 2013

No Fooling, Our Food Is Safer

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

It’s just the nature of news. When there’s bad news it’s blasted everywhere, but what about good news? Often it’s not seen as news at all. But Dr. Richard Raymond, a former Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Agriculture Department says people should know about good news about food safety. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has that story.
Miller:Recent figures from the Center for Disease Control seem to show that our food is getting safer. Dr. Richard Raymond, a former Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Agriculture Department says he’s a bit puzzled why they’re so cautious about spreading this good news.
Raymond:For 2009-2010 the number of food borne illness outbreaks had decreased by 32 percent to the previous five years. In the editorial note, it says people should use extreme caution when citing this number because we used different techniques to record these. If the number is going down despite using newer techniques for reporting, to me that would be an indication that the food is getting safer.
Miller:Dr. Raymond now works as a food safety and public health consultant. He says there are good reasons for the improvements.
Raymond:The amount of testing has increased dramatically. The industry are exponentially increased the amount of testing they do in pulling product off the line and cooking it or diverting it elsewhere, because they don’t want to get sued and they don’t want people to get sick.
Miller:Dr. Raymond says credit should be given where it’s due.
Raymond: You should be able to stand on top of the building and say “hey look, industry is doing a great job, consumers are doing a great job of listening to the safe handling and proper cooking messages that are out there. The restaurants and other people that cook our foods for us are doing a better job of preventing cross contamination. Why can’t we just say that?
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern. Thank you for listening.

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