Ken Dilanian of the Washington DC USA TODAY office wrote in part:
Spinach growers get aid provision as food-safety-standards bill stalls
Darryl Howard’s mom, Betty, was among those who died after eating contaminated spinach last fall at her home in Washington state, he says. He was stunned to learn last week that the emergency bill to fund the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina relief included $25 million to compensate spinach growers hurt when consumers stopped buying their products.
“They killed my mother, and now they want me to pay for it,” Howard says.
Backers of the spinach provision say it is designed to help innocent growers whose businesses took a hit even though their greens weren’t contaminated. The insertion into an emergency war funding bill of $3.7 billion to benefit spinach growers, peanut farmers and others in agribusiness underscores a Washington truism: Some interests are more special than others.
While the spinach aid provision was placed in a must-pass spending bill that has been scheduled for a vote Friday in the House, legislation to toughen food safety standards is stalled. A bill to create an independent food safety agency, introduced in February by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is pending in the Energy and Commerce, and Agriculture Committees, where similar DeLauro proposals have died for years.
“It is unconscionable that when it comes to public safety and the health of the American people, Congress has remained silent,” DeLauro said in a statement.
I again call on the Spinach Industry to ask that this money be removed from the War Spending Bill. Think how you would feel if this was your mother?