Food safety debate: Transcripts of the final chapter - The Packer

Food safety debate: Transcripts of the final chapter

12/22/2010 09:44:35 AM
Tom Karst

This also has mandatory recall. Most Americans are shocked to know that the FDA does not have the right to recall food or unsafe drugs in this country. They do not have the right to have that recall, especially on food. So this will now make it mandatory. The FDA can remove tainted food as soon as possible. Still, despite all these improvements, more has to be done to protect Americans.

The FDA needs subpoena power. It is probably one of the few regulatory agencies that doesn't have subpoena power. We lost that when it went to the Senate. But if you are going to trace back, if you are going to get the records, if you are going to find where the food comes from, let's give the regulatory agency the power they need. Because corporate America unfortunately too often hides their records from us.

We need an adequate funding source. For this legislation to be successful, we have to have an adequate funding source, as we had in the House but was removed in the Senate. And country of origin label. More and more of our food, especially this time of the year in the winter months, comes from other countries. We need to know exactly where those sources of food come from. So I urge the next Congress to make these improvements.

And a word of caution. Without this bill and greater improvements to this bill, we cannot fully protect Americans from food-borne illnesses, either accidentally or those intentionally put forth by America's enemies. And make no mistake about it, our enemies will exploit our weak regulatory system when they know they can harm so many Americans through food-borne illnesses.

So I hope my colleagues today will join me in supporting this legislation. [Page: H8887] It's a great piece of legislation. I would like to thank my colleagues who have worked so hard on this over the years with me, including Ms. DeLauro of Connecticut, but especially the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee who have worked with us, especially Chairman Dingell, Chairman Waxman, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Upton, and Mr. Barton.

DeLauro, Rosa U.S. Representative
 [D] Connecticut

Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this bill as a good and a necessary first step in reforming our food safety system and better protecting our families from food-borne illness. And I want to congratulate some of the longtime champions of food safety in this institution, such as Chairman Henry Waxman, Chairman John Dingell, Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone, Mr. Bart Stupak. And I say congratulations to them for successfully bringing this legislation through the House. I also want to acknowledge Senator Harkin and Senator Durbin for their work in facilitating passage of this bill in the Senate.

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