N.C. A Leader In Food Safety

North Carolina officials are helping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration develop a better system for protecting the nation's food supply.

That's because North Carolina has for two years been regularly testing food products for bacteria, pesticides and other potentially harmful contaminants.

Food safety officers do routine shopping to buy items on watch lists. The program targets both imported items and domestically produced food that are prone to problems.

And North Carolina testing has led to recalls. In two years, the surveillance program has found staphylococcus, E.coli and salmonella bacteria in soft cheeses, undeclared allergens in imported raisins and illegal antibiotics in foreign-raised fish.

North Carolina regulators say they began thinking about food safety after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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