Antiquated System Hampers FDA in Tracking Deadly E. Coli Outbreaks

A Boston Globe/NBC News collaboration found the FDA often struggles to trace the source of food contamination back to a single farm with certainty

In October 2018, little Lucas Parker shared a salad from a pizza place with his father during a family vacation to California, NBC News reports.

Fifteen months later, the once-rambunctious 3-year-old is blind, can barely move and needs constant care.

"After everything he's been through and everything's that happened in life, there's one thing I don't do," said his father, Nathan Parker. "I don't leave Lucas. I sleep right beside him. I sleep right next to his head."

Every year 9 million people in the U.S. get sick and 1,300 die from foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leafy greens, specifically the romaine that made Lucas Parker sick, are under increasing scrutiny for harboring one of the culprits — E. coli bacteria.

An NBC News investigation in collaboration with the Boston Globe's Spotlight Fellows program, however, raises questions about the FDA's ability to respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks of E. coli.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com.

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