Speeches & Testimony

Families Touched by Foodborne Illness Ask Congress to Increase Food Safety Funding

Families whose loved ones have been sickened by contaminated food are urging Congress to increase the Food and Drug Administration’s FY2015 budget for implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA. Passed with bipartisan support four years ago, the act shifts FDA’s focus from reacting to foodborne illness outbreaks to preventing them. FDA estimates it needs an additional $300 million over the next two years to carry out its responsibilities under FSMA, which include helping farmers and food processors follow safe practices.

More than 75 Americans from 33 states signed a letter delivered today to the chairmen and ranking members of the congressional committees that allocate funding to FDA. They wrote:

We are the individuals and their loved ones whose lives were forever changed by contaminated food, and we are committed to ensuring that not one more person suffers in the same way.

Each year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from food tainted with pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli, and 3,000 people die from these illnesses annually. Since FSMA was enacted, there have been 28 reported multistate outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to FDA regulated products.

Download the Letter (PDF)

November 10, 2014

The Honorable Harold Rogers,
Chairman
House Committee on Appropriations
The Capitol, Room H-305
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey,
Ranking Member
House Committee on Appropriations, Minority
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski,
Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations
The Capitol, Room S-128
Washington, DC 20514

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby,
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Appropriations, Minority
The Capitol, Room S-146A
Washington, DC 20514

Dear Chairman Rogers and Mikulski and Ranking Members Lowey and Shelby:

As Congress continues to consider funding for Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food safety budget, we hope you will keep in mind the estimated 48 million Americans who are sickened annually by foodborne illness. We, the undersigned, are the names behind the statistics. We are the individuals and their loved ones whose lives were forever changed by contaminated food, and we are committed to ensuring that not one more person suffers in the same way.

In passing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Congress empowered the agency to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, rather than just react to safety problems after people get sick. With the help of congressionally appropriated funds it has received over the past four years, FDA has made significant progress in implementing FSMA. In order to complete initial implementation, however, FDA estimates that it needs an additional $300 million over the next two years. The American public cannot wait: since FSMA became law, there have been 28 reported multistate outbreaks linked to FDA regulated products.

Fully-funded FSMA implementation will go a long way towards ending these outbreaks and ensuring a safer food supply.

Sincerely yours,

Individuals who have experienced foodborne illness firsthand

Dr. and Mrs. Marnix Heersink
Dothan, AL
Parents of Damion Heersink
E. coli O157:H7

Amanda Craten
Glendale, AZ
Mother of Noah James Craten
Salmonella Heidelberg

Andrea Zunigha
Glendale, AZ
Mother of Austin, Daniel and Ashley Platt (deceased)
E. coli O157

Jay Dennis
Bentonville, AR
Father of Claire Dennis (deceased)
E. coli

Linda Abrahamsen
Eureka, CA
E. coli

Charlene Brown
Alpine, CA
Mother of Rustin Brown
E. coli O157

Ginny Dexter
Fields Landing, CA
Hepatitis A

Melanie Dunstan
Capitola, CA
E. coli

Christie Favero
Santee, CA
Hepatitis A

Jodi Fonville,
Apple Valley, CA
Hepatitis A

Laurie Girand
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Mother of Anna Girand
E. coli

Richard Rivera
Livermore, CA
Husband of Linda Rivera (deceased)
E. coli O157:H7

Roni Rudolph Austin
Encinitas, CA
Mother of Lauren Beth Rudolph (deceased)
E. coli O157:H7

Aaron Sirles
Corralitos, CA
Hepatitis A

Lou Tousignant
Son of Clifford Tousignant (deceased)
Walnut Creek, CA
Salmonella

Emily Townley
San Francisco, CA
E. coli O157:H7

Sarah and Sally (mother) Witmer
Bonita, CA
E. coli

Geoff Soza
Encinitas, CA
Hepatitis A

Kevin Whitley
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Salmonella

Jennifer Exley
Centennial, CO
Daughter of Herbert Stevens (deceased)
Listeria

Mike Walters
Foxfield, CO
Hepatitis A

Carol Abrams
Stamford, CT
E. coli O157

Rita and Larry Bernstein
Wilton, CT
Parents of Haylee Bernstein
E. coli O157:H7

Arlene Delaney
Lakeland, FL
Salmonella

Mary Pat Davis
Moultrie, GA
E. coli O157:H7

Sharon Griswold
Sandy Springs, GA
Salmonella

Margo Moskowitz
Atlanta, GA
E. coli O157:H7

Evelyn Stewart
Moultrie, GA
E. coli O157:H7

Mary Beth Laychak
Honolulu, HI
Hepatitis A

Nancy Donley
Chicago, IL
Mother of Alex Donley
E. coli O157:H7

Elizabeth and Michael (father) Armstrong
Parents of Isabella and Ashley Armstrong
Fishers, IN
E. coli O157:H7

Dana Boner
Minowa, IA
Mother of Kayla Boner (deceased)
E. coli

Leigh Ann Winnard (mother) and Matthew Larimer
Overland Park, KS
E. coli

Ken Koehler
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Salmonella

Danielle Wadsworth
Lewiston, ME
Salmonella Typhimurium

Lauren Bush and John-Morgan Bush (husband)
Allston, MA
E. coli

Alyssa Chrobuck
Boston, MA
E. coli O157H7

Darin Detwiler
Salem, MA
Father of Riley Detwiler (deceased)
E. coli

Andy and Melissa Kaye
Braintree, MA
Parents of Joshua Kaye (deceased)
E. coli

Angela Compton
Battle Creek, MI
Mother of Celia and Mariah Compton
Salmonella

Jeffrey John Almer
Savage, MN
Son of Shirley Mae Almer (deceased)
Salmonella

Mary Graba
Champlin, MN
Campylobacter

Paul Schwarz
Independence, MO
Son of Paul Schwarz (deceased)
Listeria

Kathy Chrismer (mother) and Rylee Gustafson
Henderson, NV
E. coli

Emily Grabowski
Rochester, NY
E. coli

Elex Scheels
Voorheesville, NY Mother of Sydney and Cole Scheels
Salmonella

Kelly Cobb
Williston, ND
E. coli O157:H7

Ashley Michelson
Wahpeton, ND
E. coli O157:H7

Michael Ayers
Denver, NC
Salmonella Tennessee

Collette (mother) and Dana Dziadul
Wake Forest, NC
Salmonella Poona

Shirley Hullett
Maiden, NC
Wife of Pete Hullett
Salmonella

Barb and Mike Kowalcyk
Chapel Hill, NC
Parents of Kevin Kowalcyk (deceased)
E. coli O157:H7

Randy Napier
Durham, NC
Son of Nellie Napier (deceased)
Salmonella

Erin Stadler
Salem, NC
Listeria

Diana Goodpasture
Barberton, OH
Salmonella Heidelberg

Christine A. Chatfield
Owasso, OK
Mother of Richard Chatfield (deceased)
E. coli

Chrissy Christoferson
Bend, OR
Salmonella

Denise Endow
Hood River, OR
E. coli O157:H7

Peter Hurley
Wilsonville, OR
Father of Jake Hurley
Salmonella

Melissa Lee
Sandy, OR
Mother of Ruby Lee
Salmonella Heidelberg

Keith and Shanda Shribbs
Salem, OR,
Parents of Celina Shribbs (deceased)
E. coli

Stephanie Rock
Johnston, RI
E. coli O157H7

Bill Francisco
Johnson City, TN
Father of Jacob Francisco (deceased)
E. coli

Donna Heller
Burleson, TX
Cyclospora

Dona Pope
Austin, TX
Vibrio

Gabrielle Meunier
South Burlington, VT
Mother of Chris Meunier
Salmonella Typhimurium

Merrill Behnke
Bellevue, WA
Listeria

Angela Price
Spokane, WA
E. coli O157:H7

Scott and Richelle Shields
Everett, WA
Parents of Chase Shields
E. coli

Kent Treen
Sammamish, WA
E. coli 0121

Trissi Bennett
Great Falls, VA
Mother of Chloe and Luke Bennett
Listeria

Sharon McGladdery
Mukwonago, WI
Salmonella

Ana Maria Zientek
Milwaukee, WI
Mother of Caroline and David Zientek
Salmonella

Ken Costello
Centennial, WY
E. coli

Polly Costello
Centennial, WY
Daughter of Polly Trautz (deceased); Wife of Ken Costello
E. coli

Shauna Dockter
Green River, WY
Mother of Morgan Alayna Dockter (deceased)
E. coli O157:H7

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