A new study has concluded that federal agencies must share information in order to properly ensure food safety. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 76 million people in the United States get sick every year with some sort of foodborne illness and that 5,000 die.Wow, that’s a startling revelation. Government should cooperate with itself—shocking!
The 148-page report said the current system is impaired because thousands of local health departments, university researchers, corporations and other institutions often collect data for their own use, with no mandate to share information.
To improve the food safety network, researchers said, incentives for government and private organizations to collaborate must replace the obstacles to sharing information.
"We're missing opportunities to prevent illness," said Michael Taylor, a professor of health policy at George Washington University, who co-authored the report.
"We are missing opportunities to make food safer. We don't have the best information about what the problems are and what the solutions can be," he said in a phone interview.
The report noted that individual government agencies have a sense of ownership that can deter data sharing while the food industry has competitive, liability and other reasons.