Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Hearing on “The Salmonella Outbreak: The Role of Industry in Protecting the Nation’s Food Supply”

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled, “The Salmonella Outbreak: The Role of Industry in Protecting the Nation’s Food Supply” at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, March 19, 2009, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. This hearing will examine the actions and obligations of manufacturers and retailers that purchased tainted peanut products from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).  Do not forget to tune into the Podcast.

Witness List

* Martin Kanan, President and Chief Executive Officer, King Nut Company
* David Mackay, Chief Executive Officer, Kellogg Company
* Heather Isely, Co-Owner, Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc.

Interestingly, Kellogg Co. chief executive David Mackay provided his prepared remarks to the AP before the hearing.  In it he wants food safety placed under a new leader in the Health and Human Services Department. He also called for new requirements that all food companies have written safety plans, annual federal inspections of facilities that make high-risk foods, and other reforms.

Mackay’s strong endorsement of major changes could boost President Barack Obama’s efforts to overhaul the system. Last week Obama launched a special review of food safety programs, which are split among several departments and agencies, and rely in some cases on decades-old laws. Critics say more funding is needed for inspections and basic research.

"The recent outbreak illustrated that the U.S. food safety system must be strengthened," Mackay said in prepared remarks for a hearing Thursday. "We believe the key is to focus on prevention, so that potential sources of contamination are identified and properly addressed before they become actual food safety problems."