Opinion

Food Safety Advocates Share Their Views on Farm Bill

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As Congress and the President completed the farm bill in February, victims of foodborne illness and their families wrote letters to the editor applauding federal leaders for leaving out proposals that threatened to undo parts of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

Kansas City Star: Protecting children

"I was glad to see that the farm bill paqssed by Congress did not undermine the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, as some lawmakers had hoped it would. Our nation's food-safety programs must focus on reducing the millions of preventable food-borne illnesses each year, and that's exactly what the food safety act will do.

I visited the Capitol Hill offices of the U.S. senators from Kansas and Rep. Kevin Yoder to remind them that this law exists so that other children don't suffer like my son Matthew did. At age 8, he had to battle for his life after eating food tainted with E. coli and developing the potentially deadly hemolytic uremic syndrome. It took him years to fully recover.

Cases like Matthew's are still too common. I urge Congress to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is given adequate resources in the next funding bill to be able to fully implement and enforce food safety act — for the safety of my family and for all Americans."

Leigh Ann Winnard, Overland Park

Read more at kansascity.com

Hartford Courant: Food Safety Imperative

"I count the farm bill approved last week as a victory for one big reason: it did not include an amendment that would have weakened the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This law is crucial to preventing foodborne illness outbreaks and not simply reacting to them.

Last week, I went to Washington to remind Connecticut's U.S. senators that FSMA exists to prevent foodborne illness, which has greatly impacted our family. At age 3, our daughter was sickened by lettuce tainted with E. coli, and she spent three and a half months in the hospital, unable to breathe on her own for much of that time. Now, more than 17 years later, she still encounters health consequences on a daily basis -- reduced kidney function, diabetes, limited eyesight, and a learning disability.

Cases like hers are still too common. I urge our senators and representatives to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is given adequate resources in the next funding bill to be able to fully implement and enforce FSMA for the safety of my family and for all Americans."

Lawrence Bernstein, Wilton

Read more at courant.com

Casper Star-Tribune: Must Continue Fight Against Foodborne Illnesses

"The farm bill passed by Congress was good news in my family because of what lawmakers left out: an amendment aimed at weakening the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Thanks to this law, our nation is stepping up efforts to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, following decades in which we simply reacted to them.

Last week, I met with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., in Washington, D.C., to share how this issue has touched me personally. In 2006, my mother, Ruby, and husband, Ken, were among those sickened by spinach contaminated with a deadly strain of E. coli. While Ken recovered, my mom died from her infection.

I was encouraged by the response I heard on Capitol Hill. Hopefully, our senators and representatives will work with their colleagues to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is given adequate resources in the next funding bill to be able to fully implement and enforce FSMA—for the safety of my family and for all Americans."

Ken and Polly Costello, Centennial 

Read more at trib.com

The Examiner (Mo.): Protect Us From Foodborne Illness

"Looking at the farm bill, I am most thankful for what Congress left out: An amendment that sought to weaken the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. This law is crucial to preventing foodborne illness outbreaks and not simply reacting to them.

I met with Sen. Roy Blunt in Washington, D.C., to share how this issue has directly affected my family. In 2011, my father was among the dozens of Americans who died after eating cantaloupe contaminated with listeria.

The food safety failures that led to my dad's death and many other outbreaks since are preventable. I urge the congressional delegation from Missouri to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is given adequate resources in the next funding bill to be able to fully implement and enforce the FSMA – for the safety of my family and for all Americans."

Paul Schwarz, Independence

Read more at examiner.net