The call for food safety reform grows louder
By Consumers Union on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
Earlier today, U.S. Congresswoman Nita Lowey stopped by Consumers Union’s headquarters in Yonkers, NY. Rep. Lowey represents Yonkers in the U.S. House. She met with CU food safety experts and spoke with reporters to press the U.S. Senate to pass a long-pending bill that would overhaul the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to protect our food supply (the House passed their version of the food safety bill over a year ago).
By now, just about everyone’s heard about the massive egg recall due to Salmonella enteritidis contamination. As the FDA began to investigate the farms in Iowa that were the source of the tainted eggs, the details they reported were truly disgusting: FDA inspectors found chickens laying eggs in the midst of maggots, rodents, and eight-foot piles of manure at one of the facilities, Wright County Eggs. Conditions at the second location in question, Hillandale Farms, didn’t prove much better. Neither facility had ever been inspected before.
What this egg recall has done – like the peanut butter, cookie dough, lettuce, and countless other recalls before it – is focus 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. The bill the House passed last year would give the FDA precisely these powers, but stalling in the Senate has prevented this bill from moving forward and becoming law – which is exactly what prompted Congresswoman Lowey’s visit today.
Consumers Union joined the Congresswoman in urging the Senate to pass the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act as soon as they return in mid-September, and we’ll continue to fight until it’s signed into law. Like Congresswoman Lowey, and certainly the almost 1500 people that have been sickened by Salmonella-contaminated eggs, we believe that consumers have a right to expect safe food from clean facilities that won’t make them sick – or worse.