In the wake of the latest salmonella outbreak in peanut butter products, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is calling on President Obama and Congress to “bring the food safety program at the Dept. of Health and Human Services into the 21st century.”
“This latest outbreak proves again that FDA is woefully inadequate to the task of protecting American consumers from unsafe food. It presently inspects low risk peanut butter plants rarely, or not at all, leaving the job to state inspection agencies.” – CSPI
The organization stated that because of the long shelf life on the peanut products, the current outbreak that has already sickened hundreds of people has the potential to sicken and kill many more if the FDA does not act effectively to remove the products from the food system. The peanut butter recall affected products made with peanut paste and peanut butter made by the Peanut Corporation of America, and that ingredient is found in ice cream, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
CSPI also believes that because there is no safety expert in charge of both the policies and the enforcement of inspections, the needed changes will not happen.
One bill sponsored by Representative Rosa DeLauro would create a new Food Safety Administration at HHS, bringing the different elements together and putting an expert in charge.
“President Obama promised a “government that works.” When it comes to food safety, fixing FDA’s food safety program is an example of a “shovel ready” regulatory reform that could be done quickly and that would bring real benefits to American consumers.” – CSPI
Image: nathanborror at Flickr under Creative Commons License