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Public Health Expert: "...this tomato outbreak investigation has bordered on incompetence."
Perishable Pundit ^ | June 24, 2008 | Jim Prevor

Posted on 06/26/2008 9:26:22 PM PDT by JimPrevor

Q: How does information from state and local levels flow to and between the federal agencies?

A: The whole system is flawed. The relationship between FDA and CDC is strained; it’s improved but still lacking. It’s not clear who is really in charge. Authority is split up in a way that decisions get bogged down and you don’t have anyone in command. You need that to effectively launch and oversee an outbreak investigation. I’m not sure who’s in charge. We have people identified as being in charge. We need someone that understands outbreaks, not just manages them. In this case, it appears that instead of experienced professionals, Outbreak Investigation Class 101 was doing the control study....

Q: FDA and CDC continue to report “new” cases piling in week after week, calling the outbreak “ongoing” with the numbers of illnesses appearing to escalate over time. Are you saying these are actually old cases slogging their way through the system? And if so, isn’t the manner in which FDA and CDC are releasing this information a gross misrepresentation of the state of the outbreak and current risk to the public?

A: This is a bit hard for me to address because I come from a public health world, 33 years now; the point being many of the people at the state and federal level are friends and colleagues. When I was at the Minnesota Department of Health, we pushed on these issues. I owe it to the public health of this country to come forward with my knowledge and put on the record the dysfunction occurring at the federal level. A subsequent review by experts in food borne disease investigations would say this tomato outbreak investigation has bordered on incompetence....

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cdc; fda; foodsupply; pimpmyblog; salmonella; tomato
Why is the Salmonella Saintpaul Tomato Outbreak taking so long to investigate? Why are farmers being pushed to insolvency while consumers are advised to throw out perfectly healthy food? In this blunt interview a leading authority on public health -- consulted with by everyone from the Secretary of Health and Human Services to Oprah -- speaks out clearly about the failure of FDA and CDC to protect the public health and competently conduct an outbreak investigation. Very rare to have such a respected source inside the world of public health speak out.
1 posted on 06/26/2008 9:26:23 PM PDT by JimPrevor
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To: JimPrevor
Welcome to FR
Good first post.
2 posted on 06/26/2008 9:32:13 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own risk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: JimPrevor

It doesn’t have anything to do with the public’s health. It has everything to do with power and control.

3 posted on 06/26/2008 9:51:12 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: JimPrevor

Looks like one two many government agencies are involved. In a national security situation would the Army not take over? Maybe they should have taken over?

4 posted on 06/26/2008 9:52:59 PM PDT by I got the rope
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To: Fiddlstix

Thank you very much. The FDA has seized very wide discretion in the use of its powers. This means that most of the people who understand what is going on are afraid to speak out. What if they are targeted for inspection? So this interview is an unusual opportunity to learn from an expert “inside’ the public health community. This is why I thought it important to post. Thanks again for your kind greeting.

5 posted on 06/26/2008 9:58:18 PM PDT by JimPrevor
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To: JimPrevor

Ok, lemme explain it to you.

The FDA is and long has been one of the worst agencies in the federal government. Really talented scientists work for a food or drug company, or a university, or NIH (even CDC is pretty impressive). FDA is where you find your high school lab partner. Competence is not its strong suit.

Yes, I’m exaggerating, but not all that much.

6 posted on 06/26/2008 10:01:34 PM PDT by freespirited (A Democrat is a person who lives in fear that someone, somewhere is proud to be an American.)
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To: JimPrevor
Is the Salmonella contamination only on the surface of the tomatoes, (disinfectable) or has it invaded the pulp?
7 posted on 06/27/2008 9:32:24 AM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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We don’t actually know. They have tracked this back through epidemiology without ever finding a tomato with the pathogen.


Jim Prevor

8 posted on 06/27/2008 2:14:02 PM PDT by JimPrevor
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To: freespirited
You point to a serious problem. Although FDA has some fantastic people — especially at headquarters — many of the people, especially in the field offices, are not up to snuff.

It often seems they can't understand their own epidemiology.

But these are the people in charge of food safety! They also wind up bullying a lot of small businesses perhaps because, being unable to explain what they don't understand, they fall back on asserting authority.

Jim Prevor

9 posted on 06/27/2008 2:21:33 PM PDT by JimPrevor
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To: JimPrevor
They have tracked this back through epidemiology without ever finding a tomato with the pathogen.


I never knew that!

I had no idea they were that incompetent!

So, now I am more than ever asking myself why they are not looking at bioterrororism as the most likely explanation for this stuff.

Can anyone clue me in?

It seems to me that 1) they've warned us that the enemy is considering such an attack, 2) we're susceptible to such an attack, 3) the known facts are completely consistent with such an attack, and [drumroll], 4) the known facts are completely inconsistent with any other rational cause.

What are we NOT being told???

10 posted on 06/27/2008 11:06:23 PM PDT by Don Joe (We've traded the Rule of Law for the Law of Rule.)
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To: Don Joe

It is simply a test for efficacy of the vector for future action with a much more potent pathogen. But by whom????

11 posted on 06/27/2008 11:14:23 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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It is simply a test for efficacy of the vector for future action with a much more potent pathogen. But by whom????

Wow, talk about loaded questions! :)

Offhand I can only think of two broad categories of possible actors -- "us" or "them" -- and as cynical as I am, I can't quite bring myself to accept that its "us" (and yes I know of the history of similar "tests" of (ahem) "harmless" pathogens in various locations to determine how they would spread during a real attack.

That leaves us with "them" -- and I think there's quite a lot to support the "them" hypothesis. Just off the top of my head, we have stuff like:

* They hate us

* They are sociopathic bastards, with no restraint against such unconscionable acts against us

* They have made threats along the lines of attacking us via this sort of thing (caveat: I am 99% sure I recall reading of these threats having been issued but I can't remember when or which agency reported it)

* We have a large undefended border with a less-than-friendly state which is used as a conduit for middle eastern muslims entering this country

* We are extremely vulnerable to this sort of attack, and, we have no real way to either prevent it from happening, or, protect ourselves from it after it happens. If the toxin was something more deadly, more insidious -- either something with a higher fatality rate and a very short latency time, or, something with a high fatality rate and a LONG latency time, we'd be screwed. Straight into horror movie territory.

What I find the most surreal is the apparent lackadaisical approach taken by "our leaders" -- they either don't take it seriously, or, are working overtime to convince us that they don't take it seriously. Neither is a comforting thought. On the one hand, we're being "protected" by morons; on the other, by liars.

Finally, all of the above is based on this "event" being taken out of context. Putting it IN context -- a scenarion in which we are enduring what I consider to be an ongoing act of war, tantamount to a naval blockade, with the goal of destroying our economy -- and which, by all appearances, WILL succeed in destroying our economy -- and in the process, us (I fully expect there to be tens if not hundreds of thousands of Americans freezing to death this winter -- and that will be the ones who haven't first starved to death).

Something is terribly amiss. Hell, everything is terribly amiss. And, the combined forces of the media and the state are engaged in a "nothing to see here, folks" strategy.

I presume that THEY are meanwhile stocking THEIR larders, making sure they will have nice, warm, safe "secure locations" to hibernate come autumn. I guess it's in THEIR interest to keep US at our posts, so that THEY will be able to go about their business of preparing for things without interruption. Gosh, imagine how rough it'd be for them if WE stopped the presses and began hunkering down ourselves?

Damn, I am in a foul, cyinical mood, aren't I.

Even so, I still believe that it's most likely that the actors responsible for the "non-tomato" event are "them" rather than "our leaders" -- if for no other reason than "our leaders" being too busy making sure that "Mount Weather" and "Site R" and all the other warm cozies are shipshape, cupboards filled, and ready to host them and theirs come first chill wind of fall.

12 posted on 06/28/2008 12:14:50 AM PDT by Don Joe (We've traded the Rule of Law for the Law of Rule.)
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To: Don Joe

Don, remember the outbreaks of E.coli in spinach from coastal CA the past couple of years? Much was made of how it came from farms contaminated by animals and dirty river water, but all the outbreaks I can remember were traced to _packaged_ spinach and the packing plants themselves. At that point the media stories went silent except for the companies proclaiming their innocence.

I have always suspected intentional contamination at the plant by certain workers.

People need to start growing their own food and/or buying local at farmer’s markets.

13 posted on 06/28/2008 12:29:14 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Don Joe
It doesn't take much imagination to foresee just how easily our enemies could create absolute chaos and lawlessness in our largest cities ... and combining that with drastically reduced truck transporting of goods around the nation becomes a most effective way to wage war against US here rather than 'over there'. When clinton heated up this war against/in response to Islamofascism, like a typical democrat he failed to actually prepare the nation for the future he was awakening. When the missles were sent into those empty tents (and clinton is such a wuss--like ALL democrap elected reps--he waited until they were empty, to send a message but not kill the enemy!), a program to prepare the nation for dealing with terrorist incuyrsions in America should have been started right then! Neither political party has done the correct thing to awaken the nation to the truth of the war we are in for our very survival as a free nation. But at least Bush has chosen to fight the Islamic bastards, even as he has failed misewrably to recognoze the insidious nature of the enemy's base support.

For anyone able to do it, perhaps the best thing a man can do for his family is learn to raise food and locate in a rural enough location to not be easily accessible to foot-bound starving city dwellers. I'm working on it ...

14 posted on 06/28/2008 8:28:13 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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