Friday, August 20, 2010

Egg Recall Renews Calls for Movement on Food Safety Legislation

( – Caroline Scott-Thomas)

A massive multi-state recall of salmonella-tainted shell eggs has led to renewed calls for food safety legislation to move forward in the Senate, as the number of related illnesses looks likely to grow, according to officials.

The recall covers an estimated 380 million in-shell eggs – and products made from them – from Iowa-based Wright County Egg. The recall affects food retailers, distributors and foodservice companies that distribute eggs nationwide, but does not directly affect commercial food manufacturers, as eggs must be pasteurized for commercial food use.

Food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest Caroline Smith DeWaal said in a statement: “This outbreak demonstrates the need for a food safety cop-on-the-beat. FDA needs a strong inspection force with the tools to mandate recalls, impose civil and criminal penalties, and require testing at farms and production facilities. The agency should be able to impose fines for violations when they find them, detain and recall food, and impose enhanced criminal penalties when companies intentionally violate the law, resulting in harm to the public. The Senate should move immediately to pass S. 510 and Congress should move a bill that incorporates the strongest enforcement provision of each bill promptly to the President’s desk for signature.”

The Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) is currently pending consideration in the Senate after it unanimously passed committee in November. A companion bill, the Food Safety Enhancement Act, passed through the House in July last year. Read more here.