By Cassie Hataway | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - After massive food recalls involving peanut butter, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, beef, and even cookie dough, the Obama Administration established a Food Safety Panel earlier this year to strengthen food safety standards.
Now, that panel has come up with new rules to prevent contamination. It includes a national tracking system to find the source of outbreaks faster, new minimum safety standards for tomatoes, melons, and leafy greens, new required pest control, and testing and refrigeration measures for egg producers to control salmonella.
The Agriculture Department says it will sample more ground beef and require nearly all turkey and poultry producers to meet new standards by the end of next year and there will be a 'Food Czar' to keep an eye on whether all those plans are working. Food safety advocates are hopeful. "If this time they're really gonna implement these plans, if this time they're really gonna put money behind them, it will make a difference", says Jaydee Hanson of the Center for Food Safety.
The Agriculture Department and FDA are also teaming up to create one central command for the dozen agencies involved in food safety.
©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.