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The Time is Now for Food Safety Legistlation

The Time is Now for Food Safety Legistlation

Bussiness Wire

Food safety advocate and attorney Bill Marler spoke today from his office in Seattle on the importance of passing HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.

“In 2002, in the middle of the recall of 21,000,000 pounds of E. coli O157:H7-tainted ConAgra beef that sickened 50 Americans and killed one grandmother, I wrote an Op-Ed saying that it was time to put me out of business. People generally hate trial lawyers like me, and I said that the best way to get rid of me would be to stop poisoning people with contaminated food. My entire practice would evaporate overnight, and I’m fine with that. In fact, it’s been my goal for 16 years.

“Since that outbreak in 2002, millions more have been sickened and permanently disabled by food tainted with Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter, and other pathogens. Thousands have lost their lives. In that same time period Congress has had more than 20 hearings on food safety – many attended by my clients – but hasn’t enacted comprehensive legislation. Industry has done even less.

“There is now a bill up for a vote on the House floor today, HR 2749, which would change that. The bill would greatly strengthen the FDA’s power to regulate 80% of food economy. It unanimously passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June. HR 2749 would give the FDA the power to order food recalls and set record-keeping standards for food facilities, as well as mandate an increased frequency of inspections. What it will certainly do is reduce the enormous number of foodborne illness outbreaks, keep kids out of ICUs and off dialysis, and increase the overall safety of our food.