Astonished that they would put domestic food safety at risk during a global E. coli outbreak

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) expressed outrage at House Republicans for voting down his amendment to H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012. His amendment would ensure the Food Safety Modernization Act – the first major overhaul of our food safety system in 70 years – is adequately funded.

“Year after year we witness devastating outbreaks that sicken or kill innocent people.  We have seen E. coli in peppers, Salmonella in peanuts, melamine in milk— the list goes on.  And with each incident Members of Congress and the American people ask “Where was FDA?”

“I would ask my colleagues “Where is Congress?” or more importantly, ”Where is the money?” FDA has the responsibility and tools to prevent and detect food-borne illnesses without the money to back it up.  The audacity and arrogance to play political games with the safety of our food is sickening.  It is outrageous that when we are in the midst of one of the worst recorded food-poisoning outbreaks in history that the House GOP would not fund the very law designed to ensure the safety of our nation’s food.

“As we watch our neighbors in Germany struggle to identify the source of a rare E. coli outbreak, we also watch Republicans in the House of Representatives make budget cuts that dramatically impede FDA’s ability to act should similar outbreaks occur here.  This recklessness puts our nation’s food supply, and the health of our nation at risk.  It is indefensible that we would cut funding from the agency whose responsibility it is to prevent such food-borne illnesses here in the United States.”

Dingell introduced his amendment last night.  The House voted against his amendment by a vote of 178-241.