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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Obama – Where is the Beef?

OK, I could not help myself. Hell, no one knows where the 143 million pounds of recalled meat really is. As I posted below, I am an Obama and Clinton supporter – “Obanton?” I did get an email from one of my chief defense lawyer opponents (also an Obama supporter) noting that Obama has made a statement on the recent recall.  Well, it is 6:00 AM Seattle time and I am at the airport on my way to New Orleans to sit in on the GMA Food Claims Litigation Conference – should be interesting.  So, back to Obama’s statement:

Senator Barack Obama released a statement on the Department of Agriculture‚s decision to recall 143 million pounds of frozen beef that came from “downed” animals. The consumption of downed cattle can pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease. Senator Obama released the following statement:

"Senator Barack Obama released a statement on the Department of Agriculture‚s decision to recall 143 million pounds of frozen beef that came from “downed” animals. The consumption of downed cattle can pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease.

"Senator Obama said: “Although the Department of Agriculture has now recalled the tainted beef, an estimated 37 million pounds has gone to school lunch programs, and unfortunately, officials believe that most of the meat has already been consumed by schoolchildren. This incident demonstrates yet again the inadequacy of the food recall process. Far too often, tainted food is not recalled until too late.

"When I am President, it will not be business as usual when it comes to food safety. I will provide additional resources to hire more federal food inspectors. I will also call on the Department of Agriculture to examine whether federal food safety laws need to be strengthened, in particular to provide greater protections against tainted food being used in the National School Lunch Program.

"As the parent of two young daughters, there are few issues more important to me than ensuring the safety of the food that our children consume. I commend the Humane Society of the United States for bringing this important issue to the public attention and believe that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health.”

As the Fanatic Cook points out in a comment I received – “Senator Clinton is a cosponsor of the 2007 Safe Food Act. Senators Obama and McCain are not. (That’s not saying they wouldn’t be if they were briefed on it.) I’m not making an endorsement here! I’m only saying that I’ve been following Senate and House versions of the 2007 Safe Food Act, a bill that would among many things increase number of inspectors, increase frequency for inspections, provide funding for same, and consolidate food safety responsibilities among organizations (FDA, USDA, etc.), and Clinton, along with Schumer (NY), Casey (PA), and Durbin (IL), are the sponsors of the bill in the Senate."

So, Obama, time to put some “meat on the bone.” And, I am still available for “Food Safety Czar.”

  • caroline

    Center for Science in the Public Interest’s
    Food Safety Solutions
    This latest recall represents a fundamental failure in USDA’s mission to
    keep sick animals out of the human food supply. On-site USDA inspectors
    apparently failed to stop these practices for two years, resulting in the
    biggest recall in our nation’s history. Following 18 months of food
    scares, ranging from tainted spinach to poisoned pet food, this massive
    meat recall is proof positive that Congress must fully fund and remake our
    food safety agencies.
    Here are five steps necessary to improve food safety:
    1. Modernize the food inspection program to make it comprehensive and
    effective, from farm to table. It should include product sampling and a
    risk-based schedule for inspections with clear authority for inspectors to
    travel from the farms to foreign countries to ensure the safety of the US
    food supply.
    2. Require all food growers and processors to implement mandatory process
    controls to prevent food contamination. Any one who wants to produce food
    for sale in the U.S. should have a food safety management plan, written
    and subject to auditing by its customers, and state and federal
    3. Give USDA and FDA (or a new agency) mandatory recall and tracking authority over the
    food supply. Ensure that both agenices can track tainted products to
    their source and also require companies to recall product with full
    information going to the public on where recalled products were sold.
    4. Toughen the penalties for violating food safety laws and for
    producing, processing or knowingly selling tainted products. Existing
    statutes have only a patchwork of fines and penalties — decades old, and
    clearly not effective.
    5. Put all these elements in a modern food safety law passed by Congress,
    creating strong federal oversight by a single federal agency with an
    increased budget that coordinates with state and foreign governments to
    ensure safe food in this country, whether the food is domestically
    produced or imported.
    Caroline Smith DeWaal
    Food Safety Director
    Center for Science in the Public Interest
    e-mail cdewaal@cspinet.org
    On the internet:

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