Issue Date: May 14, 2007
Pressure For Food Safety Reform
The pet food contamination incident has given rise to increasing pressure for creation of a single federal agency that would take over the food safety functions of FDA and USDA. According to the official Chinese state news agency, imported pet food ingredients labeled wheat gluten or rice protein had deliberately been laced by at least two Chinese manufacturers with melamine and cyanuric acid as a way to boost the products' apparent protein content. FDA has received about 17,000 reports of sick pets and about 4,000 reports of deaths from the tainted pet food. Some of the tainted food was fed to about 6,000 hogs and 3.1 million chickens, but FDA says these animals pose no significant risk to human health. On May 1, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Safe Food Act (H.R. 1148 and S. 654) that would create a single food safety agency. "Our food safety system is collapsing. There is more impetus toward a single food agency," DeLauro said in a May 8 news conference.
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