The number of FDA recalls and scares has increased over time. NPR’s The Salt attributes this increase to better testing for pathogens and improved detection of outbreaks.
Older technology only gave a few dozen data points to match to pathogens. New tests, however, reveal much more. Whole genome sequencing, in particular, can produce high-resolution DNA fingerprints on organisms, resulting in around 4 to 5 million pieces of data.
But improved detection should not increase consumers’ fears about food safety. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner, believes food is safer than ever.