Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Schlosser Urges Senate to Act on S. 510

Eric Schlosser, author of best-selling Fast Food Nation and co-producer of Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., penned an op-ed in last Sunday’s New York Times urging the Senate to move on pending food safety legislation.

Schlosser describes the public health impact of contaminated food. “[T]he number who are killed annually by something they ate is roughly the same as the number of Americans who’ve been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003,” he writes.

“Our food will never be perfectly safe–and yet if the Senate fails to pass the food safety legislation now awaiting a vote, tens of thousands of American children will become needlessly and sometimes fatally ill,” says Schlosser.

The pending FDA Food Safety Modernization Act continues to stall behind a slew of other legislative priorities as Senators work to iron out compromises on the final language of the managers package.  Approved unanimously by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in mid-November, several months after the House approved a similar measure, the legislation has not made its way to the floor for consideration.

“You’d think that a bill with such broad support, on a public health issue of such fundamental importance, would easily reach the floor of the Senate for a vote,” writes Schlosser. “But it has been languishing, stuck in some legislative limbo.”

Schlosser rightly notes that if Congress does not pass food safety legislation before the end of the session, a new session will start the process over next year.

“I’ve come to know families that were devastated by a food-borne illness,” adds Schlosser. “A great deal of harm, inflicted on some of the weakest members of society, can be avoided with a few simple reforms. Nobody should lose a child because the Senate lacks the will and the leadership to act.”  

© Food Safety News
  • Doc Mudd

    Broad public support and now even Eric Schlosser “gets it”!
    How can any compassionate person oppose safe food except for selfish pecuniary reasons? And, even then…

  • hhamil

    As usual, the virtual person, “Doc Mudd,” maligns those of us who are working to take the mess that is S 510 and create a good food safety bill as opposing safe food “for selfish pecuniary reasons.” And, as usual, Food Safety News permits such ad hominem attacks from someone (or some group) hiding behind a mask.
    Unfortunately, from his first paragraph, Eric Schlosser shows his ignorance of the issues involved and his inability to logically critique what is happening.
    He begins, “EVERY day, about 200,000 Americans are sickened by contaminated food. Every year, about 325,000 are hospitalized by a food-borne illness. And the number who are killed annually by something they ate is roughly the same as the number of Americans who’ve been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.” Yes, the caps were how it was printed.
    He takes estimates made in 1999 and presents them as if they were facts. Then, after informing us that they really are only estimates, Schlosser says they are from the CDC. Not true, Mr. Schlosser, they were estimates made by a group of researchers and published in a CDC journal. They are not “from” the CDC. In fact, the methodology for computing the number of deaths in the estimate (5,000) was strongly questioned in 2004 in that same CDC journal!
    And despite the tremendous attention given to foodborne illness in the press, the number of actual illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths reported is a tiny fraction of those numbers even in FoodNet reporting locations.
    Now, that Food Safety News has reported Mr. Schlosser’s opinion twice, how about it reports from our side even once? And, no, Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition doesn’t speak for those of us who are working hardest to amend the foolishness of S 510. Try Judith McGeary of Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance as she is one of those urging support of the Tester-Hagan amendments.

  • Harry Hamil

    As usual, the virtual person, “Doc Mudd,” maligns those of us who are working to take the mess that is S 510 and create a good food safety bill as opposing safe food “for selfish pecuniary reasons.” And, as usual, Food Safety News permits such ad hominem attacks from someone (or some group) hiding behind a mask.
    Unfortunately, from his first paragraph, Eric Schlosser shows his ignorance of the issues involved and his inability to logically critique what is happening.
    He begins, “EVERY day, about 200,000 Americans are sickened by contaminated food. Every year, about 325,000 are hospitalized by a food-borne illness. And the number who are killed annually by something they ate is roughly the same as the number of Americans who’ve been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.” Yes, the caps were how it was printed.
    He takes estimates made in 1999 and presents them as if they were facts. Then, after informing us that they really are only estimates, Schlosser says they are from the CDC. Not true, Mr. Schlosser, they were estimates made by a group of researchers and published in a CDC journal. They are not “from” the CDC. In fact, the methodology for computing the number of deaths in the estimate (5,000) was strongly questioned in 2004 in that same CDC journal!
    And despite the tremendous attention given to foodborne illness in the press, the number of actual illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths reported is a tiny fraction of those numbers even in FoodNet reporting locations.
    Now, that Food Safety News has reported Mr. Schlosser’s opinion twice, how about it reports from our side even once? And, no, Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition doesn’t speak for those of us who are working hardest to amend the foolishness of S 510. Try Judith McGeary of Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance as she is one of those urging support of the Tester-Hagan amendments.