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Obama Announces FDA Picks, Promises to Improve Food Safety

Obama: "We Are Strengthening Our Food Safety System"

Since taking office, President Obama has wasted no time addressing the food safety concerns that have been on the minds of many American consumers. Not only does the long-awaited COOL food labeling law finally take effect today, but over the weekend the president vowed to improve public health under his administration. In addition to introducing two new FDA commissioners, he also announced a plan of action to drastically improve food safety in America.

First, the president, who called the current state of government inspections "unacceptable" and "a hazard to public health," formed a new Food Safety Working Group. The special FDA task force will focus on reviewing, updating, and enforcing food safety laws, which he declared "have not been updated since they were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt."

The FDA improvements will entail more cash — one billion dollars, to be specific. Obama described the FDA as "underfunded and understaffed" and said the government will increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs. Additionally, the US Agriculture Department will be taking further action to prevent diseased cows from entering the food supply: "Downer cattle" — those that cannot walk — will be banned from slaughter. The president closed by saying:

"Food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your President, but as a parent. Protecting the safety of our food and drugs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities government has, and, with the outstanding team I am announcing today, it is a responsibility that I intend to uphold in the months and years to come."

Given the issues with contamination in spinach, jalapeños, milk, and peanut butter in the past year, I think Obama made a smart decision to address food safety concerns so early in his administration. Do you think these measures will be enough to keep consumers safe?


Join The Conversation
I have been fighting to have millions of pounds of contaminated meat recalled that was produced using a warehouse facility that makes the PBA facility look like the Ritz. The pictures I gave to the USDA and the FDA showed RAT fecal matter and rodents nests on food ingredients and materials, I submitted documents to the USDA proving the use of this contaminated warehouse for years and was denied a recall of my own products .Why –to protect a State institution that was contracted to produce this meat for my company. Agencies state the manufacturer must generate the recall and the FDA and USDA not having the authority to initiate this action as the reason bad food gets into the system .This is not so ,I am proof of this statement not being accurate. Even when the USDA went and found this contaminated warehouse with live rodents they never tested any product for salmonella and co-operated with the state of Florida to use possible contaminated ingredients in further meat processing. I applaud your very fine story and comments and appeal to you to visit my blog site and see the evidence of rat fecal contamination in meats produced by an instrument of the State of Florida department of Corrections. I have been battling with the USDA to issue a recall on the millions of pounds of meat the State of Florida produced under contract for my company. This meat was distributed nation wide to schools, supermarkets and institutions. When we discovered that this Florida State division was storing food supplies and edible ingredients in a rat infested warehouse we began our quest to get this information to the public and get accountability placed on those who allowed this to happen. When you read the information on my blog you will see the validity of both our stories .I support your efforts and request your support of mine. Regards Larry Stone
suziryder suziryder 8 years
I have mixed feelings about this. I think it's a good idea to prevent product recalls and to protect consumers from more peanut-scares, but I've heard that this move towards much stricter regulations will even affect farmers markets, and make it much harder for small farmers to sell their produce, and could actually kill farmers markets, which I think would be a terrible shame. I love my weekly farmer's market!! (Of course, I don't actually know if this is true, it's just an internet rumor at this point.)
Spectra Spectra 8 years
If he gives the FDA more funding, they will be able to add more auditors to do inspections on food production facilities. As it is now, the auditors usually have a LOT of facilities to inspect and they tend to skip important things so they can get through their quotas. I really hope Obama's plan works to at least improve things somewhat. I'm so sick of recalls I could puke :P
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