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Obama's budget cuts bacteria testing in produce

APNewsBreak: Obama's budget axes USDA program that tests for deadly bacteria in fresh produce By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' President Barack Obama's proposed budget sent to Congress this week would eliminate the nation's only program that regularly tests fruits and vegetables for deadly pathogens.

Food safety advocates say the program has been a crucial tool used to investigate deadly foodborne illness outbreaks.

But the White House Office of Management and Budget says the decision to cut the $5 million program was made after U.S. Department of Agriculture decided it had limited impact.

The Microbiological Data Program extensively screens high-risk fresh produce for bacteria including salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

Industry leaders have pushed the government to get rid of the testing program, saying it has cost growers millions in recalls and has unfairly targeted farmers who aren't responsible for contaminating the food. They want the private sector to do more of its own testing.

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