Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Join the Fight for Safe Food

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Join the Fight for Safe Food

Article excerpt

"No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch." Those words, from President Barack Obama, came soon after January's peanut butter outbreak, which sickened hundreds, killed nine, and caused the President to wonder about the food that his own daughters took to school.

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Since then, Americans have faced outbreaks connected to beef, alfalfa sprouts, cookie dough, and even black pepper. As President Obama knows, preventing outbreaks would cut health-care costs by preventing some of the 325,000 hospitalizations that foodborne illnesses cause each year.

And it's not just parents who need to worry. The elderly are among the most likely to experience food poisoning severe enough to require hospitalization. Foodborne illness can strike anyone, including healthy young adults.

Food processors are a critical link in preventing contaminated food from reaching consumers. That's why Congress needs to update the 70-year-old law that has failed to prevent these foodborne outbreaks.

In July, after more than 10 years of effort by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (the nonprofit publisher of Nutrition Action), Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.), and others, the House of Representatives passed a strong food safety bill. If adopted, it would bring the Food and Drug Administration's food safety program into the 21st century.

The bill would require every food company to have a food safety plan and to keep records that the government could check during inspections, which would be done every 6 to 12 months for high-risk foods (like fish) and at least every three years for low-risk foods (like crackers). …

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