Tuesday, July 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a much-needed overhaul of the nation’s food-safety system, the Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749), when the House meets on Wednesday, July 29. While the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill in June by a unanimous voice vote, Rep. Frank Lucas, the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, has raised objections to the bill and urged its delay.
Jean Halloran, Consumers Union’s campaign director for food safety, said, “After months of hearings and bipartisan cooperation, this bill is on the verge of passage and should not be derailed.”
Consumers Union has long advocated for the measures in H.R. 2749 to improve food safety by giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to recall tainted food, beefing up inspections, and enacting other critical reforms, citing the string of serious food-borne illnesses linked to peanut butter, spinach, peppers, and other common foods.
According to Halloran, “This bill will make food safer and avoid repetition of incidents like the one that sickened Jacob Goswick of Arizona. In 2006, when Jacob was in the second grade, he ate spinach, believing it would make him strong. The spinach was contaminated with E. Coli, and Jacob spent many weeks in the hospital with kidney failure and its aftermath. Jacob was actually lucky – he recovered. Another child died in that outbreak. Jacob says he hopes what happened to him won’t happen to other kids, and we hope so, too. This bill will move us closer to repairing our broken food safety net. We can ill afford to wait any longer.”
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This bill will make a fundamental difference in keeping our food safe and our families safe. Contrary to some assertions, this bill represents many years of congressional consideration of this issue, and reflects the input of consumer, industry, farming, and victims’ groups. This reform is long overdue. We urge the House to move expeditiously and help move our food safety system into the 21st century.”
The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday, July 29, under suspension of the rules.
David Butler or Kristina Edmunson, 202-462-6262
Naomi Starkman, (917) 539-3924
Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.