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Ga. Senate panel considers food safety changes

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia lawmakers are deciding whether to adopt
new food safety rules after a state peanut plant was linked to a
salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people
nationwide.

The Senate Agriculture Committee debated a measure Monday that
would require food makers to alert state inspectors within a day if
a plant's internal tests show its products are contaminated. The
bill would also force the companies to conduct the tests at least
once a year to supplement surprise state and federal inspections.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin called for the
changes in the aftermath of the outbreak, but has tempered his
remarks lately by urging Congress to adopt similar requirements.

His department came under fire after a state inspector who
toured the plant in October noted only two minor violations, but
less than three months later federal agents who swarmed the plant
found roaches, mold, a leaking roof and other problems.

Irvin said Monday the state doesn't have the resources to match
the federal agents.


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