CFA’s Carol Tucker-Foreman Urges Congress to Modernize Food Safety Laws

For Immediate Release

Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
Contact: 

Chris Waldrop 202-797-8551

CFA’s Carol Tucker-Foreman Urges Congress to Modernize Food Safety Laws

Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee

WASHINGTON - Carol L. Tucker-Foreman, Distinguished Fellow at Consumer Federation of America’s
Food Policy Institute, today told the House Agriculture Committee that the lack of
adequate food safety systems has become an emergency the Congress must address by
enacting new laws that require the FDA to prevent foodborne illness rather than reacting
to it and modernizing the FMIA and PPIA so that the Department of Agriculture can
effectively enforce its HACCP and sanitation systems. Both agencies need more research
to build science based systems.

Tucker-Foreman noted that the continuing string of foodborne illnesses is bad for
consumers, food processors and farmers. The public is losing confidence in the safety of
the nation’s food supply. States represented by members of the Agriculture Committee
are among those hit by the last three outbreaks—contaminated peppers, peanut products
and sprouts.

• Peppers contaminated with Salmonella Saintpaul sickened 1,442 persons in 43
states, including 559 Texans, 120 people in Illinois, 42 in Georgia and 59 in
Arizona.
• Salmonella-contaminated peanut products made 691 persons ill and killed 9
people in 46 states. The victims included 100 Ohioans, 76 Californians, and 43
Minnesotans.

• Earlier this month 84 Nebraskans, 27 Iowans, and 5 Kansans and South Dakotans
were among the victims of a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak traced to eating
contaminated fresh sprouts.

Tucker-Foreman urged Congress to change the Food and Drug Act to direct FDA to
concentrate on preventing foodborne illness and give it power and funding to do so. She
also urged the committee to give FDA a separate organizational entity within HHS as
recommended by Representative Rosa DeLauro.

She suggested that Congress could take a look at USDA’s FSIS to see how important
that separate organizational structure and institutional leadership can be.

Carol L. Tucker-Foreman, Distinguished Fellow at Consumer Federation of America’s
Food Policy Institute, today told the House Agriculture Committee that the lack of
adequate food safety systems has become an emergency the Congress must address by
enacting new laws that require the FDA to prevent foodborne illness rather than reacting
to it and modernizing the FMIA and PPIA so that the Department of Agriculture can
effectively enforce its HACCP and sanitation systems. Both agencies need more research
to build science based systems.

Tucker-Foreman noted that the continuing string of foodborne illnesses is bad for
consumers, food processors and farmers. The public is losing confidence in the safety of
the nation’s food supply. States represented by members of the Agriculture Committee
are among those hit by the last three outbreaks—contaminated peppers, peanut products
and sprouts.
• Peppers contaminated with Salmonella Saintpaul sickened 1,442 persons in 43
states, including 559 Texans, 120 people in Illinois, 42 in Georgia and 59 in
Arizona.

• Salmonella-contaminated peanut products made 691 persons ill and killed 9
people in 46 states. The victims included 100 Ohioans, 76 Californians, and 43
Minnesotans.

• Earlier this month 84 Nebraskans, 27 Iowans, and 5 Kansans and South Dakotans
were among the victims of a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak traced to eating
contaminated fresh sprouts.

Tucker-Foreman urged Congress to change the Food and Drug Act to direct FDA to
concentrate on preventing foodborne illness and give it power and funding to do so. She
also urged the committee to give FDA a separate organizational entity within HHS as
recommended by Representative Rosa DeLauro.

She suggested that Congress could take a look at USDA’s FSIS to see how important
that separate organizational structure and institutional leadership can be.

###

Carol Tucker Foreman is Distinguished Fellow at Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute.
She was Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Food and Consumer Services, 1977-81. Her responsibilities
included oversight of the nation's meat, poultry and egg inspection and food assistance programs.

Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of over 300 organizations, with a combined
membership of over 50 million Americans. CFA's Food Policy Institute was created in 1999 and engages
in research, education and advocacy on food and agricultural policy, agricultural biotechnology, food safety
and nutrition.

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