ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota agriculture officials are phasing out a federally funded program that allows them to test produce for contaminants like E. coli and salmonella.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Microbiological Data Program had operated in 11 states, including Minnesota. Congress decided not to fund it in 2013, so USDA officials have asked states to stop taking new samples so the program can shut down by Dec. 31.
Heidi Kassenborg, who directs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Dairy and Food Inspection Division, tells Minnesota Public Radio News the program has played an important role in catching disease-causing pathogens in produce.
She says the program recently found salmonella contamination in grape tomatoes.
Kassenborg says Minnesota will continue to test food, but produce won't be getting the scrutiny it did under the program.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.