Washington, DC -
07/30/2009 - Erik D. Olson, Director of Food and Consumer Product Safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts, issued the following statement:
"We applaud the House of Representatives' bipartisan vote today to modernize and strengthen the nation's food safety system. This historic action takes a major step toward ensuring Americans can have increased confidence in the safety of their food.
"Foodborne disease kills one American every two hours, every day of the year, and the vast majority of these deaths are preventable. The Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for the safety of over 80 percent of the foods we eat, has been hamstrung in its effort to better ensure the safety of the food supply by an outdated law and inadequate resources.
"Today's bill will help give the government stronger tools and more resources to safeguard our food supply. Instead of inspecting food plants every 10 years, on average, this legislation will require far more frequent inspections. It will help guarantee stronger rules regarding the safety of imported foods and will also ensure that companies and the FDA can trace the source of food contamination and recall tainted food, so health authorities can quickly and efficiently respond to outbreaks.
"We thank the leaders of this effort including Reps. Henry Waxman, John Dingell, Frank Pallone and Rosa DeLauro for their tireless efforts on this issue and we also want to thank Reps. Joe Barton and Nathan Deal for working in good faith with their Energy and Commerce Committee colleagues to advance this legislation.
"We urge the Senate to immediately take up food safety legislation that is at least as strong as the House bill."