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In any given year, an estimated one in six Americans will contract a foodborne illness, according to Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, director of the dairy and food inspection division for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

Global reach of food industry underscores importance of safety


WILLMAR -- At the Minnesota-based Schwan Food Co., raw ingredients for the company's many products are obtained from more than 800 suppliers worldwide. Schwan's production of pizza alone amounts to 1 million tons a day.

It's this complexity that keeps Jeff Varcoe, vice president of food safety and quality, constantly vigilant.

"That's a lot of opportunities for foodborne illness," he said. "That keeps me up at night."

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Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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