Government investigators say it's very difficult to follow foods all the way through the supply chain.
A report to be released Thursday says investigators were able to
follow only five out of 40 foods completely.
The ability to trace food is critical during outbreaks of food-borne illness and would be crucial in a bioterrorism attack. Food companies are required by federal law to keep records that would allow investigators to follow suspect foods one step back and one step forward.
But an investigation by the Health and Human Services inspector
general's office found that many companies don't keep detailed
records. And one-quarter of the company managers were totally
unaware of the record-keeping requirements.
Food items in the test included bottled water, eggs, oatmeal,
tomatoes, fruit juice and yogurt.
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