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Food safety laws - a recipe for disaster!
[Comments in italics are mine]
Ever had food poisoning? You’re not alone in your misery. 76 million of us get sick each year from foodborne illness. But it’s more than intestinal distress.
At least 5,000 people die each year, often an agonizing and painful death. [How many September 11s is that?, hmmm?]
Recent headlines report deaths from tainted spinach, peanut butter and beef. Yet the FDA inspects food processing plants in the U.S. only once every five to 10 years [because of underfunding of the agency due to Reaganomics.] And despite the increase of food shipped from China and elsewhere, less than 1 percent of imports are inspected. [If you voted for politicians who promoted the "Contract On America", you should quit reading now and enjoy your day.]
The FDA also doesn’t require a label on food telling you it comes from a clone. Clones suffer numerous deformities, and most sicken and die before adulthood. We should know if our food products are cloned so we can make an informed choice.
Let’s end this recipe for disaster. Bills are being introduced now in Congress that could truly reform our weak food safety laws. And leaders are vowing to pass legislation in the coming weeks.
Email your lawmakers now! We need your voice the powerful industry lobby is already lining up to oppose significant reforms.
Here is a copy of a handy already written letter (that you can add to) that Consumers Union sent a link to yesterday in an e-mail. Go find the 'action page' and sign it!
Make sure my food is safe pass real FDA reforms now
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am concerned about the growing number of recalls of all kinds of tainted foods. Stories about dangerous beef, chili, spinach, peanut butter, and many other products have been making headlines for far too long. We need strong food safety reform now, so that we can have faith again that the food we buy for ourselves and our families won't make us sick, or worse.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the safety of much of the food we eat both food imported from countries like China, as well as food produced here in the U.S. But the FDA is failing to protect consumers, and needs more money and authority to get the job done.
Both the House and the Senate are considering fixes to our broken food safety system. I urge you to make sure that the fixes are as strong as possible. Any food safety legislation that Congress passes should contain the following provisions:
-- More Inspections of Food Imports: The 1 percent of food that is currently inspected by FDA is not enough. Any legislation must increase significantly the percentage of imported food that is inspected by the agency.
-- Mandatory Certification and Inspection, Once a Year, of All Food Production Facilities: Right now, FDA does not inspect food facilities often enough sometimes it's as little as once every 10 years. All food facilities (both domestic and foreign ones) should be required and not merely given the option to obtain FDA certification of their facilities. The certification should include random inspections and testing.
-- Consumer Choice Through Labeling of New and Controversial Food Technologies: We want labeling of genetically engineered food, food from cloned animals, and nanotech ingredients in food, so that we can make informed choices about what we purchase for ourselves and our families.
-- The Names of Stores, Restaurants, Schools, and Other Places Selling Recalled Food: We are often at a loss when we hear about product recalls, because there is currently no federal requirement to publicize the names of grocery stores, restaurants, and schools that might be selling or using recalled food. Consumers would be better able to respond to food recalls, and to protect themselves, if this retailer information was disclosed in the event of every recall.
The time for strong food safety reform is now. Mealtime should not be a game of chance. Please enact strong food safety legislation by this summer that includes the protections outlined above. Thank you.
[City, State ZIP]