WASHINGTON — Produce was the second-leading cause of Salmonella reports
during the first year of the Reportable Food Registry, the Food & Drug
Administration said Jan. 21.
The agency released the first-ever report of the electronic portal that industry
and health officials use to report serious food-safety incidents to the FDA.
Congress directed the agency to establish the reporting mechanism as an
early-warning system for problems in the food and feed supply chain.
From Sept. 8, 2009 to Sept. 7, 2010, the FDA received 2,240 reports of
contaminated human food and animal feed in the supply chain that
potentially could cause serious health consequences or death.
The largest cause of potentially tainted products was due to Salmonella, and
the leading food commodity tied to Salmonella was seasonings and spices.
But the second-leading commodity fingered in the report was categorized as
raw agricultural commodities or produce.
Fresh-cut produce was ranked sixth in the number of reports submitted due
to Salmonella, the report said.
"The data in this report represent an important tool for targeting our
inspection resources, bringing high-risk commodities into focus, and driving
positive change in industry practices — all of which will better protect the
public health," Mike Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, said in
the report. “We anticipate improved reporting as we continue our vigorous
outreach to food facilities through federal, state, local and foreign agencies to
help us expand the positive effect of the RFR on the safety of the U.S. food