----- Original Message -----From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Congressman Bart StupakSent: Friday, April 03, 2009 10:46 AMSubject: From the Office of Congressman Bart Stupak
April 3, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. John Dutcher
25525 South Angora Road
Goetzville, Michigan 49736
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dutcher:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act. I appreciated hearing from you on this issue.
On February 4, 2009, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act. H.R. 875 would establish a Food Safety Administration headed by an expert in food safety within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). By separating food safety regulation from drug and device approvals, the bill would allow food safety experts and researchers to focus on food safety. H.R. 875 would also provide the Food Safety Administration with the regulatory tools to access important records, recall products, and penalize companies for knowingly selling tainted products.
The Food Safety Modernization Act would address current weaknesses in the system by requiring traceability, requiring food companies to take preventive measures, mandating regular inspections, and demanding that imported food meet our safety standards.
Recent cases of salmonella in peanut butter, botulism in baby food, and e.coli in spinach are all signs of a disturbing trend. However, this is not merely a health issue; it is an issue of national security. Imported food could be tainted with biological or chemical agents before entering the
or toxins could be introduced at a domestic food processing plant. By the time anyone begins to feel the effects of these toxins, this food could have reached thousands of people across the country, resulting in serious illness and even death. United States
While the number of cases of food borne illness has more than doubled in the last five years, the past Administration drastically reduced the resources for addressing food safety issues. The budget for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has been cut from $48 million to $25 million in just three years. Also, annual inspections of domestic food processing plants dropped 25 percent since 2005.
On January 28, 2009, I introduced the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009 along with Congressman John Dingell and Congressman Frank Pallone This legislation is a critical step toward equipping the FDA with the regulations and needed to safeguard Americans in the global marketplace for food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics.
The Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act would guarantee FDA the funding to significantly increase inspections of food facilities and improve outdated information systems. The legislation requires food producers to have preventive food safety plans and subject the plans to FDA inspection, requires food imports to meet all
standards, closes the loopholes in FDA's ability to trace the source of contaminated products, and imposes stiff penalties on companies that violate safety standards. US
Whether we are talking about the Food Safety Modernization Act or my legislation, Congress is not intending to stop individuals from growing food for their own consumption. In addition, my legislation includes specific language that exempts small businesses from paying the registration fee.
It is my hope that Congress will act quickly on food safety legislation. Congress faces an ambitious agenda in the coming months, but the more than 500 illnesses and nine deaths linked to the current peanut butter salmonella outbreak underscore the importance of wasting no time in enacting this important legislation.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding issues of importance to you.
Member of Congress