Consumers Union Poll: 80 Percent of Americans Want Congress to Pass Food Safety Legislation Immediately

For Immediate Release

Consumers Union
Contact: 

David Butler, 202.462.6262
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924

Consumers Union Poll: 80 Percent of Americans Want Congress to Pass Food Safety Legislation Immediately

YONKERS, N.Y. - Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports,
today released new poll data showing that 80 percent of Americans want
Congress to immediately give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
the power to recall food when it poses a danger to health and safety.
FDA food safety reform legislation that would give FDA that power, as
well as require it to inspect all high-risk food processors at least
once a year, passed the House of Representatives a year ago but is now
stalled awaiting Senate action. The poll can be found online at http://www.consumersunion.org/pdf/Food-Safety-Poll-0610.pdf.

"The overwhelming majority of Americans want Congress to make our
food safe now," said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives
for Consumers Union. "Most people are shocked to find out that FDA can't
even order a recall-it must request companies to voluntarily retrieve
contaminated food. It is essential that the Senate pass S. 510, the
bi-partisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, before it adjourns in
early August."

President Obama last week also asked the Senate to pass the bill,
noting it, "[a]ddresses longstanding challenges in the food safety and
defense system by promoting a prevention-oriented approach to the safety
of our food supply and provides the Federal Government with the
appropriate tools to accomplish its core food safety goals."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, 76 million
Americans are sickened, 325,000 hospitalized, and 5,000 die from
consuming contaminated food. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services Office of the Inspector General has reported that FDA inspects
less than a quarter of all food facilities each year, and that more than
half of all food facilities have gone five or more years without an FDA
inspection.

A recent report on food safety by the Institute of Medicine and
National Research Council also notes the many gaps in the FDA's current
performance in food safety, and recommends that Congress increase the
agency's authority to act. The report urges that Congress require all
food processors to register with the FDA (which is not required under
current law), to act proactively to prevent foodborne illness, and tell
the FDA when they discover adulterated products. S. 510 accomplishes
all of these things.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone
survey using a nationally representative probability sample of telephone
households. 1,007 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+.
Interviewing took place from June 24-27, 2010. The margin of error is
3.2 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

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