In mid August this year I sent several letters to the editor of the leading daily and weekly newspapers in Utah to warn readers of a very dangerous condition that was lying dormant in all food dispensing outlets. Some papers did not bother to run my warning. I telephoned several state legislators calling their attention to the deadly potential that was silently waiting to break out.
Our state health department is years behind in staffing of their food and health inspectors. And yes, Utah is sitting next door to an outbreak of e'coli, dysentery, diarrhea, hepatitis, or norovirus.
I see in their proposed budget for the year 2006 they are still ignoring this dangerous condition. A public health specialist for the national park service stated that a gastrointestinal illness has affected 100 people on 12 different boating trips, with five tour companies all based in Utah. Some were so serious that they had to be airlifted.
We have food dispensing facilities here in our cities and towns that have not seen a food inspector for more than four years. The fault lies with the state legislators for not giving the health department enough funding to hire more food inspectors.
From 1995 to now, food dispensing outlets have increased more than 600 percent throughout the state. Our health department only receives its regular stipend to cover its regular operating expenditures, but not enough to hire more food inspectors.
We have found our enemy, it is our state legislators.