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New York Prepares to Deal with E Coli and Other Food Threats

By Joyce Kryszak

Albany, NY – The Food and Drug Administration revised its advisory on Monday against eating all spinach. The bacteria was only found in spinach grown in three California counties.

But New York state wants to be ready to test for E Coli and other contaminates in the future.

A new $40 million food testing lab will be built in Geneva at the Cornell agriculture and food technology research park.

Governor George Pataki announced funding for the collaboration this past weekend. He said the testing facility will allow various state agencies to work with Cornell researchers, as well as federal agencies to better safeguard public health.

Jessica Chittenden is communications director for the state department of agriculture. She said the funding announcement is timely given public concerns.

The new lab replaces an outdated facility now operating in Albany. Testing during the recent E Coli spinach scare was coordinated through the Center for Disease Control. But Chittenden say the new lab will be equipped to test for E Coli, as well as do analysis for a variety of public health concerns.

The lab also participates in a federal pesticide detection and data program. The facility is responsible for testing to detect pesticide residues in fresh vegetables andd fruits, as well as drinking water.

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