Ag Commissioner wants new division - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ag Commissioner wants new division

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The state's agriculture commissioner wants a new agriculture division.

He wants the division to deal with food safety in the wake of a peanut salmonella outbreak at a Blakely processing plant.

Commissioner Tommy Irvin told the state's agriculture leaders, including Governor Sonny Perdue, that his office needs to give more attention to food safety than they've done in the past. The meeting was held as the GBI met with the FDA to determine if the state needs to get involved in their own criminal investigation of the plant. So far no one has not been charged, but today Perdue called for the prosecution of those responsible for the outbreak.

"To find the records that exists, find out if this was knowingly and willingly done, and if it was to prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law," said Governor Sonny Perdue, (R)-Georgia.

Perdue stopped short of endorsing the bill that's been introduced that would stiffen the state's regulations on food production plants. Irvin says he plans to meet with the State Attorney general Thurbert Baker about his role in any possible prosecution.

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