Monday, January 2, 2012

More Freedom, More Listeria

Molly Ivins used to say that if you really want to see the difference between Republicans and Democrats, look at food safety.-SS

More Freedom, More Listeria:

If we have learned nothing from the GOP primaries, and who could argue otherwise, we have learned that the reason the economy sucks is that Job Creators are Shackled by Government Regulation. If we could only end Government Regulation, Job Creators would be Free at Last, Sweet Lord, Free at Last, and they would Job Create, and Santa would pop down all our chimneys to give us stock options, plum pudding, low-deductible health insurance, & thoroughly memorable oral sex.

Also we'd all get Listeria.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has told producers of ready-to-eat foods not to veer from their regular manufacturing, sanitation and food-safety procedures when federal inspectors test for Listeria monocytogenes in their processing plants.

According to the notice published Wednesday, routine sampling to test for Listeria is conducted about once every four years at most facilities that make ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs and luncheon meats, or after a problem is suspected.

But too many establishments are making temporary changes before inspectors in the monitoring program arrive, or during the sampling, presumably to reduce the chances of positive test results, the FSIS notice implies.

Listeria, though uncommon, has an infamous rep for being the deadliest food-borne illness in the U.S. Chicago-based Flying Food Group, which used to sell pre-packed sandwiches to gas stations in the South -- as well as supply salad meats to Starbucks -- recalled thousands of meals because of listeria concerns earlier this month.

And earlier this year, the country reeled from the most fatal listeria outbreak in American history, as tainted cantaloupes from Colorado resulted in 29 reported deaths.

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