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"The proposed food-safety legislation is the first major update of our food safety laws since 1938," said Lowey. "We must focus on prevention to stop outbreaks before they occur." Lowey pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 76 million Americans who suffer from food-borne illness each year.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would, among other things, require the FDA to conduct inspections of food-production facilities, give them mandatory recall authority for unsafe foods, and give them more enforcement powers, including the ability to levy civil penalties against wrongdoers.
Hansen gave examples of how the proposed law could have stemmed the large egg recall, which has been associated with sickening almost 1,500 people with Salmonella Enteritidis poisoning. Once the FDA was allowed to inspect the Wright County Egg farms, they found multiple violations of food safety standards, most of which are truly disgusting.
What this egg recall has done—like the peanut products, cookie dough, spinach, and countless other recalls before it—has focused everyone’s attention on the urgent need for better authorities and funding for the FDA to prevent these kinds of dangerous foods from getting on the marketplace before anyone gets sick.
Congresswoman Lowey urged the Senate to pass the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act as soon as it returns in mid-September. "Consumers have a right to expect that their food supply is safe," said Lowey. "It is outrageous that the FDA is so severely lacking in the basic authority it needs to protect the public from contaminated food products." We couldn’t agree more.
For more information on Consumers Union’s food-safety initiative and to see what you can do to help, visit CU's NotInMyFood.org.