Eat up; worse food is ahead, scientists say
Lewiston Morning Tribune / Wednesday, February 20, 2002

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WASHINGTON  Dangerous bacteria are going to be a problem in America's food for a long time as disease agents arrive in imported products and microbes already here develop new forms, scientists say.

In a report for the Institute of Food Technologists, the scientists also say the increasing use of manure as fertilizer poses the risk of spreading harmful bacteria to food, either by contaminating irrigation water or contacting the crops.

Manure, which harbors bacteria such as E.coli O157:H7 and salmonella, substitutes for chemical fertilizer on both organic and conventional crops.  In some foreign countries, chicken manure is fed to farm-raised shrimp,

The report, which is being released today, also warns against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock, saying there is "growing body of evidence" that farm use of antibiotics is causing bacteria to become resistant to drugs.

The scientists say it will be "practically impossible" to keep hot dogs and similar precooked meats free of Listeria monocytongenes because the bacterium is so common in the environment.

The report does not address the issue of whether the government's food safety agencies should be consolidated. Food regulation is now split between the Agriculture Department and FDA, which have widely varying inspection programs and rules.

On the Net: Institute of Food Technologists:

Government's food safety site:

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