Protecting our food supply consists of methods of inspection and testing not only what we grow and slaughter and ship from state to state, here at home, it’s also about inspecting and testing the food we import from other countries as well.
There are two federal agencies that are primarily responsible for Food Safety in the US and for the food that is imported into the US. That is the USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In January the US food safety laws were amended to improve the prevention of foodborne illness. The new law would allow the FDA to conduct more inspections of domestic and foreign food producers, and work more closely with the USDA and state inspection agencies. The new act was to add 1800 new food safety inspectors.
The USDA has inspectors in meat and poultry slaughter plants and processed egg facilities. These are the inspectors (veterinarians) who examine the animals to make sure diseased animals do not get put in the food supply and check for salmonella in processed products.
On the 16th of June, the House Appropriations passed legislation by a 217-203 vote that would eliminate the necessary funds for the FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. And cut funding for the already under funded Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) so they would have to start firing food safety inspectors.
We all remember the baby formula scandal of product from China along with the imported pet food safety issues. There is a serious outbreak of e-coli in Germany right now. This could have been us, but for our food safety system that is currently in place.
The Chairman of the Appropriations House Subcommittee, Jack Kingston (R-GA) said, “The food supply in America is very safe because the private sector self-polices, because they have the highest motivation. They don’t want to be sued, they don’t want to go broke. They want their customers to be healthy and happy.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 28,000 Americans are hospitalized every year and 3,000 die every year from tainted food.
Even the Grocery Manufacturers of America are in support of doubling the FDA’s food safety budget, in light of the recent food scandals.
Rep. Kingston also claims the high level of food safety is due to the private sector without the “nanny” state. “That’s the private sector working,” he’s quoted as saying.
In reality, do you want to risk your life and the lives of your families on Rep. Kingston’s fantasy? We saw the result of de-regulation and lack of oversight in the financial sector, as we watched homes being foreclosed and savings and pension plans evaporating
If you want the FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service at USDA fully funded, please write your Senators and let them know they need to put the funding back to provide us with safe food oversight. http://www.senate.gov/
If you want to contact your Representatives and thank those that voted against this bill, and chastise those that supported it, here is the list: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
All Democrats voted against the legislation
The following Republican Representatives voted against the legislation as well:
Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan)
Rep. Michele Bachman (Minnesota)
Rep. Joe Barton (Texas)
Rep. Paul Broun (Georgia)
Rep. John Campbell (California)
Rep. John Duncan (Tennessee)
Rep. Stephen Fincher (Tennessee)
Rep. Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona
Rep. Morgan Griffith (Virginia)
Rep. Walter Jones (North Carolina)
Rep. Steve King (Iowa)
Rep. Tom McClintock (California)
Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida)
Rep. Kristi Noem (South Dakota)
Rep. Ron Paul (Texas)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (California
Rep. ave Schweikert (Arizona)
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] (introduced 6/3/2011)
House Report #: 112-101
Passed the House of Representatives on 6/16/11 by a vote of 317 – 203
6/16/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Appropriations