Feb 23, 2009 4:40 pm US/Central

Salmonella Outbreak Prompts Tougher Law Proposal

Source of Article:  http://cbs2chicago.com/consumer/Salmonella.Outbreak.Prompts.2.942053.html

 

2 Ill. Congressmen Fight For FDA Access To Questionable Food Testing Results


Mike Parker

CHICAGO (CBS) ―

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There is a new push Monday night to protect you and your family from potentially dangerous food. This comes after a nationwide salmonella scare may have killed nine people, and sickened hundreds of others. CBS 2's Mike Parker reports two Illinois congressmen are fighting to make sure something like this never happens again.

The deadly tale of the salmonella outbreak that came out of a company in Georgia – how its products killed nine people and how the Peanut Corporation of America, and owner Stewart Parnell hid damning test results - has rocked the country. It has also shocked two suburban Illinois congressmen.

"A broker visited his facility in the 1980s and said it was a time bomb waiting to go off," said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk. "If he was a car dealer, he would have been selling cars with no brakes."

Now Congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam are trumpeting a new law proposed by Roskam. It would give the Food and Drug Administration access to any questionable food testing results.

"And if there's adverse information that comes about, that information has to be disclosed," said U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam. "In other words, you can't shop around for a favorable result."

The proposed new law would also give the FDA a new weapon - the power to order a company to recall dangerous food products. Right now, those recalls are merely voluntary.

Consumers we talked to today, think that is a good idea.

"The companies are going to want to make their money, make a profit," one consumer said. "We should worry about the consumer safety."

"If something's bad on the shelves, it should be taken off," another consumer said.

"Because it's important for people's health," a consumer said.

As for peanut magnate Stewart Parnell…

"I respectfully decline to answer your question," Parnell said.

"In my view, this is direct evidence of criminal activity," Kirk said. "If it was just up to me, we would sit him down at a table and make him eat his own peanut butter."

Roskam introduced a similar measure last year but it went nowhere. It was never called for a vote. He and Kirk believe the recent salmonella tragedy might make a difference this time.

The FDA says that 5,000 Americans die every year from food borne illnesses; 76 million get sick.

Incredibly, more than 2,500 peanut products have been recalled in this salmonella scare.

For a list of peanut products that have been recalled, click here.

And it's not just salmonella. Other products get recalled too - often for labeling issues involving possible allergens.

 

 

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