While we’re busy making our own resolutions for the new year, we are humbly recommending a few resolutions for others to consider:
— President Obama should resolve to sign the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
— First Lady Michelle Obama should resolve to pay attention as USDA sets nutritional standards for the nation’s schools. After all, this is the same USDA that not too long ago was feeding meat from downer cows to as many as half the nation’s school children.
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should resolve to take a victory lap or two for making S. 510 happen. Maybe he’d like to go to go to China with Bill Marler to lecture the Chinese about how to better treat parents of children who are victims of food poisoning.
— Rep. John Dingell, longest serving member of Congress, should resolve to accept the House Republican leadership’s offer to make him Chairman Emeritus and Ranking Member of the Commerce and Labor Committee. This will allow Henry Waxman, if he will only pay attention, to continue to learn from a pro.
— Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA, who is in line to chair the appropriations subcommittee that overseas FDA’s budget, should resolve to eat a couple of the peanut butter treats kept in a special jar by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Kingston claims the U.S. food supply is 99.9 percent safe. Feeling lucky Jack?
— Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, should resolve to resist dragging the chronically underfunded food safety agencies in for a beating for not doing enough and instead reach across the aisle to help Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, pass her bill for a single federal food safety agency.
— Sally Fallon Morrell of the Weston A. Price Foundation should resolve to become a food safety advocate for raw milk and sprouts, raising some eyebrows about the foundation’s new investments in hand-held irradiation devices.
— Commissioner Margaret Hamburg should resolve to hire someone with a passion for obtaining justice to head FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. She should hire someone who is “real police,” not someone booking more retirement time.
— Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods, should resolve to make the implementation of the new food safety law open and transparent. While it was under consideration by the 111th Congress, FDA modernization was a subject of much fear and misinformation. FDA must build trust and implement the food safety reforms at the same time.
— Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, should resolve to set some priorities for his burgeoning USDA, or he will risk looking like a juggler who ends with everything falling on his head.
— Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, should resolve to take an action or two that would indicate where she is when it comes to keeping our meat and poultry supply safe. One suggestion: she should declare those six non-O157 toxic E. coli strains as adulterants in meat.
— Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, should resolve to do a better job than he did last year of advocating a world where the public’s only protection from harm or death by corporate America is a trial attorney. He did a good job of making that argument in 2010, but then he faded at the end. He can do better.