Bill, I loved being a part of the Lobby Day for food safety. Thanks for passing my name along to be a part of it. I’ve written a few thoughts if you want to post it. I’m looking forward to continue to fight.
April 29, 2009 was a significant day for President Obama as it marked his 100th day in office. For my mother-in-law, Mora Lou Marshall, it was the 849th day since she had fallen victim to Salmonella Tennessee from Peter Pan peanut butter. Those two milestones aside, it was also an important day for me to be in Washington lobbying for food safety and to meet other families who have forever been changed because of foodborne illness.
It has been two years since I testified before the Congressional hearing on food safety. I was hopeful some progress would have been made since that testimony, but every time I hear news of another food illness outbreak I realize there is still so much more work to be done. So that is why I was honored to be a part of the Lobby Day last week.
I was able to meet with the staff members of Congressman John Fleming, Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator David Vitter. Whether by accident or design, I was explained how key elements of proposed food safety legislation could have made a difference in my mother-in-law’s illness. One requirement would give the FDA the authority for mandatory recall of suspected problem foods. Mora Lou’s initial confirmed contamination was January 2, 2007, and she continued to eat the peanut butter even in the hospital for another 5½ weeks until the voluntary recall on February 14, 2007. What a difference a few weeks would have made for our family.
So now I am back in Louisiana fired up and ready to continue the fight for food safety. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible. I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would ever be lobbying in Washington, but I’m ready to go back and knock on some more doors. What a great experience for me to play a small part in trying to change our food safety laws.