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Sonny Perdue, salmonella enabler, a bad choice for ag secretary

Perdue's fraught food safety history makes him a terrible choice to be agriculture secretary

Most of Donald Trump's cabinet picks are a blatant collection of "in-your-face" insults and contradictions to their respective departments. One of the last appointments, awaiting confirmation, is no exception. Sonny Perdue, who has close monetary ties to Big Agra businesses like Monsanto and other agricultural mega-polluters, will likely be confirmed as agriculture secretary ("Attacks on consumer protections begin," Feb. 16).

Arguably, a top priority for USDA is food safety. This century's most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness came out of Georgia while Sonny Perdue was governor after he severely cut funds to food and safety inspection. As a result of these cuts, the two largest salmonella contamination food recalls in U.S. history occurred, both traced back to two locations in Georgia. The first recall occurred in 2007 at the ConAgra and Great Value peanut butter plants in Sylvester, Ga. The second one, two years later, occurred in Blakely, Ga. at the Peanut Corporation of America plant. The cumulative contamination left nine people dead, over 1,000 sickened in over 46 states, with more than 350 companies impacted and involving more than 3,900 different products. It was only after this second major recall that Governor Perdue finally agreed to more funding to test for pathogens in Georgia food manufacturing.

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If confirmed as secretary, Mr. Perdue's USDA would be responsible for inspecting almost all of the meat and poultry consumed in the United States. Call your senators. Tell them you don't want Sonny Perdue anywhere near your children's food.

Em Hench, Ocean Pines

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