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DeLauro: CDC Stats Show Need for Reform

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) responded the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recently released report on foodborne disease, which showed mixed results on food safety progress, by again calling for an overhaul of the food safety system.

The “Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food–10 States, 2009,” released by the CDC Thursday, examined trends and cases in foodborne disease in 2009, found that the incidence of Shigella is down 55 percent, E. coli O157 is down 41 percent, and Salmonella is off by 10 percent, the “furthest from meeting the goal,” according to CDC.

Vibrio infections, commonly associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, increased by 85 percent from the late 1990s.

Ten states participate in the FoodNet data sharing program. In total, the project represents 46 million, or approximately 15 percent of the total U.S. population.

“The findings of this report show that although there has been some progress, significant work remains to improve our food safety system,” said DeLauro, a longtime champion for stronger food safety laws in the House of Representatives, in a statement released Friday.  

“We have seen the E. coli incidence go down in the past only to rise the next year,” she said. “While there was a decrease in E. coli we saw increases in other critical foodborne illnesses like campylobacteriosis and vibriosis. These trends clearly show the need for an improved food safety system.”

As Food Safety News reported yesterday, The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510, which would increase the mandate and authority for FDA to regulate 80 percent of the food supply, has been put on hold while the Senate considers financial regulatory reform in the coming weeks. Negotiations over amendments to lessen the bill’s impact on small farms are ongoing.

The legislation still enjoys broad, bipartisan support in the Senate, but it remains unclear when leadership will find room to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. 

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