Government Shutdown Politics and Food Safety
On October 10, 2013, spurred by the recent multi-state outbreak of Salmonella, Center for Food Safety sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor strongly urging them to fully fund the government in order to protect public health.
“The American people are sick and tired of this government shutdown, and now they’re getting sick on the government’s watch,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs with Center for Food Safety. “The House of Representatives should not be cherry-picking which agencies reopen and which remain shuttered. To protect the public, we need all of our food safety and health agencies firing at all cylinders.”
The current poultry outbreak, which has already sickened nearly 300 people in 18 states, is a clear indication that food safety expands beyond just the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service also play vital roles. Not only has the government shutdown led to food safety agencies reducing their inspections and investigations, but it has also prevented consumers from getting the updated information they need about food safety risks and recalls.
Passage of H.J. Res.77on Monday by the House, which only funds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), erroneously puts FDA funding at odds with other critical food safety issues that remain in limbo as a result of this appropriations quagmire, including the regulation of agricultural crops and pesticides, food security programs like Meals on Wheels, monitoring of pollution from factory farms and CAFOs, and the protection of honey bees and other pollinators.
CFS’s letter clearly states it is time for the House to end the government shutdown and restore all food safety and public health programs in America by voting on the Senate-passed clean CR (continuing resolution) that funds all federal agencies and departments.