January 4, 2011
Harkin Hails Signing of Food Safety Bill
Says Funding New Protections for American Families is Critical
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) welcomed news that President Obama will today sign legislation to better protect Americans against contaminated food and food-borne illness. As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, Harkin worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to build broad support for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Harkin is also a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
“Today is the culmination of more than a year of bipartisan efforts to better protect American families against contaminated food. We already know what happens when we do not have effective food safety protections and enough resources to enforce them – large-scale national recalls, people getting sick from contaminated foods and agricultural producers hurt by fears about the foods their industry produces. That was the result over the last 70-plus years as our food safety system deteriorated. Today, we are finally giving the FDA the authority it needs and more importantly, the protections Americans deserve – knowing their food is safer.
“As we consider the federal budget over the course of the next few months – and more importantly over the next several years as the food safety law is carried out – we will have tough decisions and choices to make across the entire federal budget. Those decisions must involve identifying priorities and making careful use of dollars in the budget.
“When you consider that food-borne disease outbreaks cost consumers and industry approximately $152 billion a year, providing the FDA with approximately $300 million per year to fund these new protections is a bargain, and an important commitment for the Congress to make. Fiscal responsibility does not necessitate abandoning or neglecting the need of American consumers for safe food. I will be making that case personally to the public, the White House and this Congress.”