Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says recent food-borne outbreaks reportedly connected to fresh produce may signal the need for greater federal oversight.
Harkin, a Democrat who will become chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Ag Committee in January, says the U.S. meat inspection program seems to be working. “It has been suggested to me that perhaps we need some kind of a similar…system in our vegetables and fresh produce and things like that. I’ll think about that,” Harkin says. “That may be a suggestion worth following up on.”
Earlier this fall, bags of spinach was pulled from supermarket shelves and restaurants nationwide after hundreds fell ill after eating spinach contaminated with E-coli.
This month, national public health officials are trying to determine whether green onions served by Taco Bell restaurants is the source of an E-coli outbreak. And in Iowa, a Taco John’s in Cedar Falls tossed all its food and got new supplies after 40 patrons were sickened by what health officials believe to be E-coli contamination.