Morning headlines: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FDA and CDC continue investigation into source of E. coli contamination

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has now joined the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in investigating the source of the E. coli contamination that sickened 26 people in the St. Louis area.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services says there is no confirmed link between produce from Schnucks grocery stores and the current E. coli outbreak in Missouri. In a written statement, the state health department said that only 17 of the 26 people sickened reported having eaten anything from a Schnucks salad bar. The other nine did not. The state says that so far, no food samples collected from any location have tested positive for E. coli bacteria or shiga toxin, its harmful byproduct.

Groups to fight against sales tax proposal

A coalition that includes Missouri business and education groups has been formed to fight a proposal to replace the state income tax with an expanded sales tax. The group is called the Coalition for Missouri's Future, and also includes the Missouri AARP. Leaders said Tuesday they'll work to keep the proposal off a future statewide ballot. They argue it would hurt elderly and low-income residents and could cause a shortfall in the state budget.

Proponents of replacing the income tax with a broader sales tax say it would boost Missouri's economy.

Mo. receives federal grant to build more parking spots for trucks on I-70

Missouri has received a $1 million federal grant to build more parking spots for trucks along Interstate 70. The Missouri Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it working to identify sites for additional truck parking and hopes to begin construction by late 2012. Commercial truck drivers must abide by federal limits on the length of time that they can be on the road.

The rules are intended to reduce driver fatigue.

In the past several years, Missouri already has doubled the number of truck parking places it offers along interstates. But the department says it must continue adding spots because the number of commercial vehicles on I-70 is forecast to double by 2030.