So, Senator Obama’s Food Safety Bill landed in my inbox about a minute ago.  I have not read it, but thought I would get it out to my avid blog readers.  I’ll comment on it between dealing with more meat and produce recalls.  The Bill is S. 3358 – “A bill to provide for enhanced food-borne illness surveillance and food safety capacity.”

Click on the above.  If that does not work, email me at  After a quick read, my thoughts are that Obama is right on the mark – a very great start.  However, at a funding level of only $25,000,000 per year, perhaps a bit light on funding.  Highlights of the Bill are:

  • Enhance Food-borne Illness Surveillance

A.  Inform and evaluate efforts to prevent food-borne illness
B.  Enhance the identification and investigation of, and response to, food-borne illness outbreaks
       1.  Coordinate and improve food-borne illness surveillance systems between local, state and federal governments to more rapidly support outbreak investigations.
       2.  Share data, stool and food isolates between local, state and federal governments AND the public.
       3.  Improve epidemiological tools, expand genetic fingerprinting capacity, annual reports on food-borne illness surveillance and outbreaks.
       4.  Establish long-term follow-up of late complications of food-borne illnesses.
       5.  Support scientific research.

  • Establish Food Safety Working Group

A.  Consisting of local, state and federal government food safety AND industry AND consumers to make recommendations for:
       1.  Prioritizing needs to prevent food-borne illnesses.
       2.  Improving access to food-borne illness surveillance data.
       3.  Reducing barriers for improvements for reducing food-borne illness.

  • Improve Food Safety Capacity

A.  Strengthen oversight of food safety at retail level.
B.  Strengthen capacity of state and local agencies to carry out inspections of food processing establishments.
C.  Survey state and local capacities and needs for enhancement with respect to:
       1.  Staffing levels and expertise.
       2.  Laboratory capacity.
       3.  Information systems.
       4.  Legal authority for roles in national food safety system.

  • Implement Food Safety Plan

A.  Assess adequacy of capacity to perform food safety functions of government.
B.  Action plan to meet highest priority capacity needs.
C.  Improve coordination and information between local, state and federal food safety agencies.
D.  Grants to local and state government to enhance food safety capacity and programs.

OK, he had me at hello.  My thoughts on the topic can be found at "Tainted Food: How To Combat Food Poisoning in the United States? Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama, are You Paying Attention?"