Viewpoint: Food producers should be inspected

While apparently no one was watching, a peanut plant in Blakely, Georgia was allowed to deteriorate to the point that it's now linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak.

An investigation revealed filth and deplorable conditions that should have long ago been detected by state inspectors and corrected. State Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin says he's understaffed and doesn't have enough inspectors to make sure our food processing facilities are properly inspected.

That's just ridiculous. What is more important than the safety of our food supply?

We've now seen the tragic results of a broken system and it's time to stop this! The Legislature is in the process of approving a bill that will require food processors to report any kind of contamination within 24 hours of discovery.

We're amazed that this wasn't already happening. It's time for the people of this state, especially those we elect, to step up and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

The responsibility for making sure our food is safe lies squarely on the Ag Department and its inspectors, and it's our hope that this tragedy will force them to become vigilante protectors of the public which relies on them.