A national organization says the state health department meets most of its criteria for responding to public health disasters. But there is one important unresolved issue that the department hopes the legislature helps resolve next year.
The Trust for America’s Health says Missouri’s health department meets its standards for acquiring medicine, making beds available, processing samples, and having enough staff. It also networks well with the Centers for Disease Control and does well lining up volunteers and getting funding. But the Trust says the Department doesn’t identify pathogens in food-borne outbreaks as well as it should.
State Health Director Margaret Donnelly says the answer to that criticism lies in upgrading Missouri’s food safety laws that have not been updated since the 1950s. “Some of it…doesn’t reflect the current state of food processing in this country,” she says.
She says the department needs a better way to look at how food is manufactured and processed. She says more food is processed, meaning there are more steps in the chain that need better scrutiny.
Donnelly says the updating of the food safety laws will help the state work better with federal partners so her department can do a better job of tracking food-borne illnesses.
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Bob Priddy interviews Margaret Donnelly 4:33 mp3 trustam6