Faster food fight wanted

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants the federal government to respond to food-borne illnesses like Minnesota does.

So today she said she will introduce a bill promoting faster national response to food problems, such as this year’s case of salmonella-tainted peanut butter.

“As a former prosecutor, I believe the first responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens,” the Minnesota Democrat said. “When people get sick or die from contaminated food, it means our government has failed in this duty. By strengthening our nation’s food safety system, we can save both lives and money.”

The Minnesota health and agriculture departments cracked the peanut butter case with evidence that alleged contamination in a Georgia peanut processing plant. It is just the latest example of Minnesota health officials solving a national outbreak.

“The nation should not have to wait until someone in Minnesota gets sick or dies before there is an effective national response to a large-scale outbreak of food-borne illness,” Klobuchar said. “The problem is that the responsibility to investigate potential food-borne diseases rests largely with local and state health departments, and there is tremendous variation in terms of the priority they give to this responsibility. Food safety is a national issue that deserves national action.”

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