So the President walks up to the counter of a fast food joint and asks for a burger. His order is filled by the Speaker of the House, who dresses the patty with E. Coli, Salmonella, and glass.

The first lines of a new joke? No. it’s the plot of an animated video released by a non-profit group to raise awareness of the dangers that impending budget cuts could pose to food and water safety.

Food & Water Watch issued the alert Wednesday, warning people that proposed cuts in funding for food and water protections will increase the risk of foodborne illness in the country and limit municipalities’ abilities to provide clean water.

President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget would reduce the amount allotted to the USDA for meat inspection by $9 million. On the other hand, it would increase the FDA’s overall budget by 33 percent, or about $1 billion, but Food & Water Watch says this boost is not enough to allow FDA to fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, which went into effect this January.

Food & Water Watch also warns that water infrastructure is in jeopardy. The 2011 Republican proposal (House Resolution 1) would reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund by $1.967 billion by the end of the current fiscal year. Obama’s plan for 2012 also involves cuts to the fund’s budget.

Next week, Food & Water Watch will launch a campaign against further cuts to food and water protection systems. The campaign includes this video, starring Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.


The 60-second cartoon is a playful illustration of what the organization sees as the detrimental effects of the proposed 2011 and 2012 budgets. After Boehner loads Obama’s burger with harmful contaminants, the President asks, “How can you sell tainted food and water to the American people?”

“By cutting food and water protections from the federal budget,” the Speaker answers before biting into the burger.

The animated ad is scheduled to air in Boehner’s congressional district in Ohio, and is available on the Internet. Food & Water Watch also says it will target members of Congress, President Obama and opinion leaders in Washington, D.C. with the clip.