Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In a related matter, the Obama Administration announced new rules for food safety. National Public Radio reports,
Recalls Scare Consumers
At the announcement of the new initiatives Tuesday, Vice President Biden set out to make one thing clear: Food safety is important to this administration. "You know, my dad used to say if everything is equally important, then nothing is important. There have to be priorities, and this is one of those priorities," he said. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told food producers and food-safety advocates that enough is enough. "We've seen too many large-scale recalls, everything from spinach to peanut products, pistachios, peppers, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts and recently even cookie dough." Five thousand Americans die from contaminated food each year, she said, and tens of millions get sick.
The administration is directing its agencies to design tougher production standards for marketers of poultry, beef, leafy greens, melons and tomatoes. The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be designing a national food registry so contaminated food can be traced back to its source, and so consumers can be alerted immediately once a problem is discovered.
Meanwhile, the FDA announced a special initiative on eggs. Egg producers will have to buy chicks and young hens only from buyers who monitor for the salmonella bacteria. They'll have to have specific safety plans, eliminate rodents and pests, guard against bioterrorism, test regularly for salmonella, and refrigerate eggs during storage and transportation. . . .