In a letter to the editor in Missouri’s Independence Examiner, Paul F. Schwarz called for increased funding of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the wake of the guilty verdict issued against executives of Peanut Corp. of America for their role in a deadly 2008–09 outbreak of Salmonella infections.
That outbreak, traced to tainted peanut products shipped by the company, led to nine deaths and more than 700 reported illnesses in 46 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schwarz’s father, Paul A. Schwarz Jr., died of a Listeria infection from cantaloupe in 2011 in an outbreak that sickened 147 people and killed 33, among the highest death tolls caused by contaminated food.
Since his father’s death, Schwarz has testified in support of FSMA, a law he hopes can prevent future outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. FSMA is the first major update to the agency’s food safety program in 70 years, but Congress has yet to allocate enough money to pay for its implementation and enforcement.
“No one should experience the heartbreak of watching a loved one suffer from simply eating food,” Schwarz wrote in the letter. “With a fully funded law in place, perhaps they never will.”
Read the full letter at examiner.net.