Food Safety Reform Moves Closer to Becoming a Reality: Legislation Now under Consideration

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, June-July 2009 | Go to article overview

Food Safety Reform Moves Closer to Becoming a Reality: Legislation Now under Consideration


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


TO ROBYN ALLGOOD, blending fresh spinach into fruit smoothies seemed the perfect way to meet her kids' nutritional needs.

But on Sept. 15, 2006, a Food and Drug Administration warning about contaminated spinach sent the Idaho mother of three running to the refrigerator to throw away an open bag. The warning came too late, however.

Two-year-old Kyle Allgood fell ill the next day. Crying out in pain, the inconsolable toddler was admitted to a local hospital. A few days later, on Sept. 20, 2006, within hours of being transferred by plane to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Kyle developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure caused by Escherichia coli bacteria, and suffered a fatal heart attack.

The Allgoods later learned that Kyle had eaten spinach tainted with a leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, E. coli 0157:H7. If the FDA warning had come just two days earlier, Kyle would never have eaten the spinach, Allgood said at an April news conference in Washington, D.C., where dozens of victims of food-borne illness, including people who had lost loved ones due to contaminated food, gathered in the U.S. Capitol to tell their stories and urge legislators to reform the nation's food safety system.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 76 million cases of food-borne disease occur each year in the United States, causing about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. The most severe cases tend to occur in the very old, the very young, those with compromised immune systems, and in healthy people exposed to a very high dose of a pathogen.

"What's scary is that a food-borne pathogen can't be seen, and once someone is sick there is no way to reverse it," said Allgood, fighting back tears. "It was terrible to watch our son suffer and not be able to take away his pain, but now we just want to lend our voice to encouraging food safety."

Allgood's voice has not gone unnoticed. Around the nation, outraged victims of tragedies tied to tainted foods are stepping forward to join their voices with those of food safety advocates, industry groups, consumer groups, policymakers, public health professionals and others looking to the current Congress for a long-overdue overhaul of the nation's food safety system.

"Reaction, not prevention, has too long formed the basis of our nation's food safety system," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E). "Americans cannot afford to lose faith in their food."

FDA is an overwhelmed agency with an ever-growing mandate, food safety advocates say. The agency has been chronically underfunded for years, they say, and its focus has long been on the drug and medical device side rather than on food safety.

"Reforming the food safety functions at FDA will take more than a few quick fixes," Richard Hamburg, MPA, director of government relations at Trust for America's Health, told The Nation's Health. "Instead, we need an overhaul from top to bottom on how we prevent, detect and respond to food-borne illnesses."

To be sure, legislators' plates are already piled high with issues related to energy reform, the economy and health reform, but there is still room for food safety, said David W. Plunkett, JD, JM, food safety program attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"There are a lot of things for Congress to deal with, but the stars are aligned for food safety reform," Plunkett said. "We have a collision of a lot of different interests coming together to urge action on reforming FDA. Industry is pushing for it. We have had outbreaks, so consumers are concerned about it. And we have consumer advocacy organizations that have for years been working on reform, and a Congress that is receptive to their messages. I am hopeful we will see the House and Senate work on bills this year and complete them before the current session of Congress ends. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Food Safety Reform Moves Closer to Becoming a Reality: Legislation Now under Consideration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.