WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after news that raw alfalfa sprouts had been linked to a Salmonella outbreak in ten states. The tainted sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart stores by Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, CA. On November 18, 2009, the HELP Committee reported out the FDA Food Modernization Act of 2009, a comprehensive food safety bill, without a single dissenting vote. The bill must now go to the full Senate for consideration. A summary of the bill can be found here and more information on the alfalfa recall can be found here.
“Incidents of food borne diseases are not only increasing, but happening with an all-too-common frequency. Just a few weeks ago, E.Coli was found in lettuce. Today’s announcement about Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts reinforces the need to reform our broken food safety system.
“While Congress seems to be fighting along party lines more than ever, food safety reform is an issue that has support from members on both sides of the aisle. Legislation approved by the Senate HELP Committee will finally give FDA the tools to help prevent future food borne illness outbreaks, and in the case of an outbreak, to respond quickly and protect American consumers. We look forward to consideration of the bill by the full Senate soon.”