Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar Wednesday renewed her call for the passage of food safety legislation pending in the Senate following a recent salmonella contamination that has caused a recall of over 550 million eggs.
Klobuchar is a lead sponsor of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, which would strengthen the FDA's authority and resources to ensure a safe food supply and help prevent outbreaks from occurring in the first place.
The legislation has received support from numerous food industries in Minnesota as well as the Consumer Federation of America, the American Feed Industry Association, the American Spice Trade Association, the American Frozen Food Institute, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
"The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens," Klobuchar said in a news release. "This massive recall is just another example of the broken system that continues to allow contaminated food to make it to our store shelves. We must act quickly to strengthen our food safety system and protect the public from future harm."
Reports indicate that salmonella-infected eggs may have caused as many as 1,300 cases of intestinal illness. On August 13, 380 million eggs were recalled from Wright County Egg and last Friday Hillandale Farms recalled more than 170 million eggs.
The Center for Disease Control has credited Minnesota public health officials with playing a significant role in tracing the source of the salmonella outbreak to Wright County Egg. The Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota have earned a national reputation for tracking foodborne illnesses.
Klobuchar has been a strong advocate for food safety and, in addition to cosponsoring the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, she has also introduced the Food Safety Rapid Response Act with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
The bill strengthens federal, state, and local officials' ability to investigate outbreaks using the procedures of the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the University of Minnesota as a national models for improved food safety surveillance. The Klobuchar-Chambliss legislation has received support from national organizations including the Food Marketing Institute, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association and local businesses including Hormel, SUPERVALU, General Mills and Schwan's.