The Make Our Food Safe Coalition, made up of leading public health, consumer, and food safety organizations, continues to call on lawmakers to push the pending food safety legislation though the Senate before the end of the year.

Yesterday the group released a series of reports on the long-term health impacts of foodborne illness and a statement urging Congress to act.

“Families across America want the government to do more to ensure their loved ones do not get sick from the food they serve over the holidays,” says Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety project for the Pew Health Group. “Congress should enact stronger food safety laws before the end of the year.”

The group is pushing for the Senate to finish work on S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which remains stalled in the Senate behind health care reform. Though a markup is scheduled for mid-November, Senate staff say there is little to no chance the bill will make it to the floor before the end of the year.

The coalition cites overwhelming public support for stronger food safety regulation, the fact that the House already passed a similar bill last summer, and new research showing the long-term health impacts of foodborne illness as primary reasons for quick action on S. 510.

“The polling and reports released today should show our lawmakers that they need to send food safety legislation to the president’s desk as soon as possible,” says Elizabeth Armstrong of Fishers, IN, whose young daughter Ashley fell ill in 2006 from spinach contaminated with E. coli.

“The U.S. Senate has an historic opportunity to take a major step toward improving food safety for all Americans,” said the group in a statement yesterday. “The Make Our Food Safe Coalition believes the Senate can take a major step forward in protecting public health by passing legislation that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enhanced authority to oversee the safety of the food by the end of the year.”