Pew Urges Senate Passage of Food Safety Bill


09/08/2010 - At least 550 million eggs have been recalled for possible Samonella contamination in recent weeks, and the CDC estimates that approximately 1,469 people or more have become ill. Every year tens of millions of Americans are sickened by foodborne illnesses, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed bipartisan food-safety legislation in July 2009. Subsequently, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee unanimously approved its food-safety legislation (S. 510), the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in November 2009, but the full body still has not yet taken up the bill.

A “manager’s amendment” for S. 510 to be considered on the Senate floor was unveiled in mid-August by six lawmakers (Senators Durbin [D-IL], Burr [R-NC], Harkin [D-IA], Enzi [R-WY], Dodd [D-CT] and Gregg [R-NH]). The Senate legislation would shift regulation from the outdated current approach of reacting to contamination and disease outbreaks to preventing them.

Pew is advocating for a vote on food-safety legislation in the Senate. Improvements to how the government oversees the food supply would help prevent or limit future foodborne-illness outbreaks. The recent case illustrates how pathogens in food continue to hurt consumers and the economy alike.

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