Microbiological Data Program and E. Coli

If you read this blog regularly, you may feel like E. coli is riding high in spite of government and industry efforts to stamp it out. Yet the LA Times is reporting this morning that Congress may eliminate the only national program that regularly screens U.S. fruits and vegetables for the type of E. coli that recently caused numerous fatalities in Germany.

But, hey, we have to cut the budget. So the House has approved a bill that would kill the 10-year-old Microbiological Data Program. This program pulls samples from 15,000 produce products a year that are at risk for E. coli contamination.

Our food makers – already jazzed about higher commodity prices are thrilled about the likely death of this $4.5 million program.

Personally, I’m in no position to judge the efficacy of the Microbiological Data Program. But I’m doing the math: seemingly more E. coli plus a mere $4.5 million. So, on its face, anyway, it looks a little bewildering. I hope the people in charge know what they are doing.

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