From the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union — Originally published Monday, Feb. 2

... Congressional testimony last week on the salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 500 people and may have claimed eight lives raises questions about whether federal regulations are far too lax. Among the more disquieting revelations: Food firms don't have to share internal test results with the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration].

So when the Peanut Corporation of America, now the subject of a Justice Department criminal probe, detected salmonella in its peanut butter paste a dozen times in 2007 and 2008, it didn't have to report it. What it should have done, one testing firm says, is thrown out the paste.

Instead, in some cases, the company ordered new tests from another testing firm. The tests came up negative and the product was shipped. The company says it didn't go out test-shopping.

Where was the FDA? Or a local health department? In the dark, because neither was privy to the test results under federal rules. Who would have thought that if a food company finds a problem with its food, it doesn't have to tell? Or that a food testing firm that finds evidence of contamination doesn't have to alert the FDA or a health authority?

... Just who, we want to know — and so should Congress — is serving whom? ...

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