Congress weighs in
The papaya recall spurred comments from members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations. The subcommittee’s ranking Democrat, Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut, issued a statement saying the recall is a “prime example” of why Congress should fully fund the food Safety Modernization Act.
“We have charged the FDA with the responsibility of protecting American consumers, but the House majority has tied their hands by cutting its funding by $280 million. Essentially, we are asking the FDA to do more with less, and it will not work. We should be investing in the FDA, not limiting its ability to effectively protect Americans,” DeLauro’s statement said.
The Republican chairman of the subcommittee has a different take on the situation. Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia, defended the cuts, citing America’s debt crisis. Under the House plan, FDA would take an 11.5% cut, $280 million, in fiscal year 2012, $87 million of which would have a direct effect on food regulatory capacity.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the food safety bill will cost $1.4 billion over 5 years to roll out.
In the meantime, officials from Agromod Produce have not returned The Packer’s calls for comment. Agromod recalled all whole papayas it sold prior to July 23. The fruit was shipped under four labels: Blondie, Mananita, Yaya and Tastylicious.
On July 27 a fresh-cut supplier, GHSW LLC in Houston, voluntarily recalled six of its products after learning that they possibly contained the Agromod recalled papaya. All six products have “best if used by” dates of July 30 or sooner and are packaged in plastic containers. They include mixed fruit, papaya spears and salsa. The complete list of GHSW recalled products is available in its recall notice. No illnesses have been reported in relation to the GHSW fresh-cut products.
According to the Centers for Disease control, the salmonella outbreak began Jan. 17 and as of July 27, 99 cases of the salmonella strain had been reported in 23 states. Ten people had been admitted to hospitals.