Senate food safety debate: Sen. Amy Klobuchar

11/18/2010 03:48:17 PM
Tom Karst

More from today's food safety debate. This from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., From the C-Span site, the closed caption script of Klobuchar. Strong words and rebuttal to Coburn.

MS. KLOBUCHAR U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Length: 8 minutes, 29 seconds

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TRANSCRIPT

* Captions

00:41:44 MR. PRESIDENT, I'M HERE TODAY TO HIGHLIGHT THE URGENCY OF PASSING THE LEGISLATION TO OVERHAUL OUR NATION'S FOOD SAFETY SYSTEM.
00:41:54 THE LAST TIME THE F.D.A.'S LAW RELATED TO FOOD WAS CHANGED IN ANY SUBSTANTIAL WAY WAS 1938.
00:42:03 YOU THINK OF HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED SINCE THAT TIME.
00:42:07 FOOD COMING IN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
00:42:09 YOU THINK OF ALL THE NEW PRODUCERS AND THE NEW PROCESSING PLANTS AND THE NEW KINDS OF FOOD WE HAVE THAT WASN'T AVAILABLE IN 1938.
00:42:17 AN OVERHAUL OF THE FOOD SAFETY SYSTEM IS LONG OVERDUE, MR. PRESIDENT, AND SO IS THE PASSAGE OF THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT.
00:42:26 FOOD SAFETY REFORM SHOULD HAVE PASSED CONGRESS AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW MONTHS AGO.
00:42:31 AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE STOOD IN FRONT OF THIS CHAMBER MANY, MANY TIMES SAYING THE SAME THING THING, AND EACH TIME, EACH MONTH SOMETHING NEW COMES UP WHERE PEOPLE GET HURT OR WHEN PEOPLE DIE.
00:42:46 WHETHER IT'S JALAPENO PEPPERS OR PEANUT BUTTER, OR, MORE RECENTLY, EGGS, THESE OUTBREAKS OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS AND NATIONWIDE RECALLS OF CONTAMINATED FOOD HIGHLIGHT THE NEED TO BETTER PROTECT OUR NATION'S FOOD SUPPLY.
00:42:57 WE NEED TO FIX IT.
00:42:59 THE GOOD NEWS IS, WE KNOW HOW WE CAN DO IT AND WE HAVE LEGISLATION SITTING RIGHT HERE ON THE TABLE THAT COULD GO A LONG WAY TOWARD HELPING FAMILIES AT THEIR OWN KITCHEN TABLES.
00:43:10 THE BAD NEWS IS THAT THIS LEGISLATION HAS BEEN STALLED IN THE SENATE SINCE LAST NOVEMBER.
00:43:17 THIS LEGISLATION IS, FIRST OF ALL, COMPREHENSIVE.
00:43:20 IT COVERS EVERYTHING FROM ENSURING A SAFE FOOD SUPPLY AT THE FRONT END TO ENSURING A RAPID RESPONSE IF TAINTED FOOD GETS INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN.
00:43:27 AND I WANT TO SAY, I'M GOING TO TAKE ON A FEW THINGS THAT MY COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA RAISED.
00:43:31 THE FIRST IS HE NOTED THAT SOMEHOW THE F.D.A. SAID THAT THEY DIDN'T NEED THE AUTHORITY TO RECALL.
00:43:38 IN FACT, RIGHT AFTER THE LAST OUTBREAK, THE EGG ISSUE, FROM THE EGGS IN IOWA, THE F.D.A.
00:43:44 COMMISSIONER CAME OUT AND SAID SHE NEEDED ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY TO DO A RECALL.
00:43:48 SO LET'S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THAT.
00:43:51 THAT WAS WRONG.
00:43:52 SECONDLY, I WOULD POINT OUT THAT THIS LEGISLATION IS BIPARTISAN.
00:43:56 IT HAS BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN SPONSORS AND IT PASSED THROUGH THE COMMITTEE, THE COMMITTEE ON WHICH YOU SERVE, MR. PRESIDENT, LAST NOVEMBER WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.
00:44:06 FOOD SAFETY IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE AND IT SHOULDN'T BE.
00:44:10 IT'S A NATIONAL ISSUE, A PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY.
00:44:14 AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE, MR. PRESIDENT?
00:44:16 IT'S A BUSINESS ISSUE.
00:44:17 SO WHEN I HEARD MY COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA TALK ABOUT HOW SOMEHOW IT WAS GOING TO HURT THE BOTTOM LINE.
00:44:23 I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY THE GROCERY STORES OF AMERICA SUPPORT THIS BILL.
00:44:26 DO YOU THINK THEY'RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT THEIR BOTTOM LINE?
00:44:30 I'D LIKE TO KNOw WHY COMPANIES LIKE GENERAL MILLS SUPPORT THIS BILL, LIKE COMPANIES LIKE SCHWANS, ONE OF THE BIGGEST FOOD PRODUCERS IN THE COUNTRY, THE NUMBER-ONE THING THEY RAISED WITH ME IS PASSING THIS BILL.
00:44:49 YOU THINK SCHWANS IS A COMPANY THAT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THEIR BOTTOM LINE?
00:44:54 THEN YOU HAVEN'T MET THEIR BUSINESS EXECUTIVES.
00:44:57 THEIR FOCUS SON JOBS, MAKING MONEY -- THEIR FOCUS IS ON JOBS, MAKING MONEY, PRODUCE AGO GOOD PRODUCT.
00:45:03 WHY DO THESE BUSINESSES CARE ABOUT PASSING THIS BILL STPHR -- BILL?
00:45:10 GUESS WHAT?
00:45:11 THESE BAD ACTORS, WHETHER IT IS A PEANUT BUTTER FACTORY IN GEORGIA, A PLACE THAT HAS RATS IN IT?
00:45:20 THESE BAD ACTORS HURT ALL THE GOOD FARMERS THAT PUT IN SAFETY MEASURES.
00:45:23 THAT'S WHY THE COMPANIES, THE GROCERY STORES, SUPERVALUE, THESE KIND OF COMPANIES WANT TO GET THIS BILL PASSED BECAUSE THEY THINK HAVING BAD FOOD OUT THERE, NOT ONLY BAD FOR CONSUMERS WHEN THEY GET SICK OR BOTTOM LINE.
00:45:38 DIE, BUT IT'S BAD FOR THEIR THAT'S WHY THERE'S INDUSTRY SUPPORT FOR THIS BILL.
00:45:43 FINALLY, THIS LEGISLATION ADDRESSES A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE.
00:45:46 AND THIS WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING TO HEAR FROM MY FRIEND FROM OKLAHOMA.
00:45:51 YOU ALL KNOW IN OUR STATE THE CASE OF SHIRLEY ALMER, A GRANDMOTHER.
00:45:58 IT.
00:45:58 SHE FOUGHT CANCER, SHE SURVIVED SHE WAS READY TO GO HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, AND SHE EATS A LITTLE PIECE OF PEANUT BUTTER TOAST.
00:46:06 AND THAT GRANDMOTHER DIED BECAUSE OF THAT PEANUT BUTTER TOAST.
00:46:10 SO I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT HOW IT'S NOT WORTH IT FOR THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA.
00:46:17 IT'S GOING TO COST THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA, UNTIL YOU TALK TO SHIRLEY'S SON JEFF, THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT.
00:46:27 ONE OTHER THING THAT WAS NOT TRUE WAS WHEN MY COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA TALKED ABOUT THE TOMATO RECALL.
00:46:32 THAT WAS TRUE.
00:46:34 IT WAS MISDIAGNOSED.
00:46:36 THEY SAID THE WRONG THING WHEN IT WAS JALAPENO PEPPERS, THEY SAID IT WAS TOMATOES.
00:46:45 WHY WOULD THAT LEAD US TO BELIEVE?
00:46:48 IF PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE AND CALLING THE WRONG CARD AND SAY TOMATOES CAUSE THIS AND THEN THE TOMATO PRICES GO WAY DOWN AND PEOPLE GET HURT THAT PRODUCE TOMATOES, AND INSTEAD THEY FIND OUT IT IS JALAPENO PEPPERS AND HE PEOPLE ARE GETTING SICKER ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WHY WOULD THE ANSWER BE LET'S NOT DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE IT?
00:47:12 THE ANSWER IS WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM.
00:47:15 THE ANSWER IS BOTH THE PEANUT BUTTER CONTAMINATION AND THE JALAPENO PEP PERCENT, YOU KNOW WHO CALLED IT RIGHT?
00:47:24 THE STA EUT UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA -- THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.
00:47:29 THAT MAKES US PROUD OF OUR STATE, BUT WE WOULD REALLY RATHER NOT HAVE LOST THREE PEOPLE TO THE PEANUT BUTTER CRISIS TO SAY GUESS WHAT?
00:47:38 WE GOT IT RIGHT.
00:47:40 YOU TPWHAOE WE CAN DO -- YOU KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO?
00:47:43 TAKE THE SYSTEM WE HAVE IN MINNESOTA WHICH IS COMMON SENSE, WE'VE GOT GRADUATE STUDENTS THAT WORK TOGETHER, THEY MAKE CALLS WHEN PEOPLE GET CIRCUMSTANCE AND THEY FIGURE OUT WHAT CAUSED IT, WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY.
00:47:56 IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
00:47:59 PART THIS HAVE BILL WHICH THE REPUBLICAN SENATOR CHAMBLISS AND I SPONSORED IS TO LOOK AT THAT MODEL AND SAY LET'S SEE IF WE CAN IMPROVE THE SYSTEM SO WE CAN CATCH THESE ILLNESSES QUICKER AND RESPOND BETTER AND HAVE LESS PEOPLE DIE AND LESS PEOPLE GET SICK.
00:48:15 SO WHEN I LOOK AT ALL OF THE ISSUES RAISED BY MY COLLEAGUE: BOTTOM LINE FOR BUSINESSES, THE BUSINESSES IN THIS INDUSTRY ARE SUPPORTING THIS BILL.
00:48:26 WHEN I LOOK AT THE ISSUE OF CONSUMER SAFETY, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AT WHAT WOULD TO SHIRLEY AL -- LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED TO SHIRLEY ALMER.
00:48:38 WHEN I LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CONSUMERS IN THIS COUNTRY, I DON'T THINK ANYONE WANTS TO GET SALMONELLA.
00:48:49 SICK FROM EGGS TAINTD WITH IT'S VERY EASY TO MAKE THESE CLAIMS, BUT LET ME TELL YOU, ONE, THE PEOPLE WHO DO THIS WORK SAY THEY NEED MORE AUTHORITY TO DO THESE RECALLS AND TO DO IT RIGHT.
00:49:00 THE BUSINESSES WHO ARE AFFECTED BY THESE FOOD SAFETY OUTBREAKS SAY THEY NEED A BETTER SYSTEM, THEY DON'T WANT TO GET STUCK BACK TO 1938, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HURT BY THIS OR FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED BY THIS, THEY SAY WE NEED THIS IMPROVEMENT.
00:49:17 THAT'S WHY THIS BILL HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.
00:49:20 THAT'S WHY THREE-FOURTHS OF THE SENATE SUPPORTED MOVING FORWARD ON THE DEBATE.
00:49:24 AND, MR. PRESIDENT, MY HOPE IS THAT THE DELAY WILL END, WE WILL GET THIS DONE SO WHEN FAMILIES SIT DONE FOR THEIR THANKSGIVING DINNER, THEY WILL KNOW THERE'S HOPE FOR THE FUTURE AND WE'RE NOT STUCK BACK IN THE INSPECTION SYSTEM WE HAD IN 1938.
00:49:37 THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.
00:49:43 I YIELD THE FLOOR.


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