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Letter to the Editor: Not enough inspectors

St. George


In mid-August of this year I sent several letters to the editor of the leading daily and weekly newspapers in Utah to warn the readers of a very dangerous condition that was laying dormant in food dispensing outlets throughout the state. Some papers did not bother to run my warning.

I called several state legislators calling their attention to the deadly potential that was silently lying waiting to break out. Our state health department is years behind in staffing of their food and health inspectors. As far as I am concerned Utah is setting next door to an outbreak of e'coli, dysentery, diarrhea, hepatitis or norovirus.

I see in the legislature's proposed budget for the year 2006 they are still ignoring this dangerous condition.

A public health specialist for the National Park Service, said recently that a gastrointestinal illness has affected 100 people on 12 different boating trips with five tour companies all based in Utah. Some of the cases were so serious they had to be airlifted.

We have food dispensing facilities here in our cities and towns that have not seen a food inspector in four years. This is the fault of our state legislators for not giving the health department enough funding to hire more food inspectors. From 1995 to date, the number of food dispensing outlets have increased over 600 % in the state of Utah. The health department only receives it's regular annual stipend to cover operating expenditures, but not enough to hire more food inspectors.

We have now found our enemy. It is our state legislature.

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