Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is proposing legislation that would require recalls of meat and poultry contaminated with pathogens. “As it stands now, if foods like ground beef and sliced turkey are found to be unsafe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lacks the authority to issue a mandatory recall,” Gillibrand said. “As a result, it becomes a struggle to inform consumers the food they bought is not safe to eat.” The Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act would give USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) mandatory recall authority for meat, poultry and some egg products currently under USDA jurisdiction. Currently, if food is found to be adulterated or unsafe, or it causes foodborne illnesses, USDA can recommend that the manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer voluntarily recall the product. If the company refuses, there are some other additional actions FSIS could take to persuade a company to issue the recall, but the agency can require one only if there was an adulterant discovered. What’s confusing is that not all foodborne pathogens are considered adulterants. For example, E. coli O157:H7 is, but Salmonella isn’t. Last August, FSIS denied a petition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to have antibiotic-resistant Salmonella declared an adulterant, making it illegal to sell food contaminated with the bacteria and allowing FSIS to issue a recall or withhold the food from commerce. CSPI filed a revised petition in October, but under Gillibrand’s Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act, the Secretary of Agriculture could issue a mandatory recall of a food regardless of whether the harmful pathogen has been declared an adulterant or not. The bill would also require stores to improve customer notification in the event of a food recall. Stores would have to display a USDA-issued Recall Summary Notice at cash registers or on the shelf where the food was sold. Stores with customer loyalty card programs could also use their data to call and email consumers when food they have purchased has been recalled. “I plan to introduce this bill soon in the new Congress,” Gillibrand told reporters on Thursday. In the last Congress, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Pathogen Reduction and Testing Reform Act to give FSIS the authority to declare any foodborne pathogens adulterants and recall contaminated products. It is likely that the pair will reintroduce the legislation in the House during the current 114th Congress. “Because of the inefficiencies in our national food safety system today, when we eat, we are very often putting ourselves at great risk of becoming seriously ill, regardless of how thoroughly we cook our food,” Gillibrand said. “Lunch should not be a high-risk activity.” Gillibrand is also throwing her support behind the Safe Food Act of 2015, introduced by DeLauro and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) last week, which would establish a single, independent federal food-safety agency. “If we can pass this bill, we will be making the most important change to our food safety systems since Upton Sinclair wrote ‘The Jungle’ and Teddy Roosevelt signed the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906,” Gillibrand said. DeLauro, Durbin and many consumer advocacy groups have also expressed their support for a proposal in the president’s FY 2016 budget which would consolidate FSIS and the Food and Drug Administration’s food-safety components into a new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • lou4

    When 13,000 people die each year from contaminated food, how can anyone oppose better, more efficient inspections and laws to protect the health of Americans? Why, again, are other countries better than ours in assuring food safety? It’s very disturbing. We need more, not fewer, whistleblowers exposing harmful practices in plants and the speeding up of inspections which one former employee warned about should be exposed on the news programs. If an airplane or train crashed with 13,000 on board, it would be big news.

  • GREAT NEWS, AND it’s about time.

    Thank You Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Ma’am !

    you all do remember the suspect mad cow beef that went out to customers ;

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    California BSE mad cow beef recall, QFC, CJD, and dead stock downer

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Atypical Pros and Cons

    Saturday, January 31, 2015

    RAPID ADVICE 17-2014 : Evaluation of the risk for public health of casings
    in countries with a “negligible risk status for BSE” and on the risk of
    modification of the list of specified risk materials (SRM) with regard to BSE!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0107-0003

    price of prion poker goes up again with this study. I strongly urge the
    United States FDA et al to revisit their failed ruminant mad cow feed ban, where
    still to this day, the feed ban does NOT include cervids. …

    Saturday, January 31, 2015

    European red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus) are susceptible to Bovine
    Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE by Oral Alimentary route

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    41-year-old Navy Commander with sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease CJD TSE
    Prion: Case Report

    Subject: *** Becky Lockhart 46, Utah’s first female House speaker, dies
    diagnosed with the extremely rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease aka mad cow type

    what is CJD ? just ask USDA inc., and the OIE, they are still feeding the
    public and the media industry fed junk science that is 30 years old.

    why doesn’t some of you try reading the facts, instead of rubber stamping
    everything the USDA inc says.

    sporadic CJD has now been linked to BSE aka mad cow disease, Scrapie, and
    there is much concern now for CWD and risk factor for humans.

    My sincere condolences to the family and friends of the House Speaker Becky
    Lockhart. I am deeply saddened hear this.

    with that said, with great respect, I must ask each and every one of you
    Politicians that are so deeply saddened to hear of this needless death of the
    Honorable House Speaker Becky Lockhart, really, cry me a friggen river. I am
    seriously going to ask you all this…I have been diplomatic for about 17 years
    and it has got no where. people are still dying. so, are you all stupid or
    what??? how many more need to die ??? how much is global trade of beef and other
    meat products that are not tested for the TSE prion disease, how much and how
    many bodies is this market worth?

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    *** Becky Lockhart 46, Utah’s first female House speaker, dies diagnosed
    with the extremely rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

    *** ALERT new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease nvCJD or vCJD, sporadic CJD
    strains, TSE prion aka Mad Cow Disease United States of America Update December
    14, 2014 Report ***

  • doc raymond

    This is just a political ploy to get publicity, and FSN has helped that with the headline and post. No meat or poultry producer has EVER refused an FSIS request to do a recall. NEVER. If she were to ask FSIS if a law was required to improve recall effectiveness they would say no. Any proposed laws that i have seen, and there have been a few, would allow the company to ask for a public hearing, etc., all legal steps to delay a recall and that would be a serious public health problem.
    And BTW, Lydia, recalls have been done for many reasons besides contamination by an adulterant, including Salmonella, which you well know about but declined to state.

  • BB

    I know Doc. This makes people think that companies actually refuse to recall their products when “adulterated” according to FSIS. Now if they’re talking about recall authority for pathogens not technically considered an adulterant by FSIS (i.e. Salmonella in raw chicken), then that’s a different story.

    • Doc raymond

      Foster Farms. Salmonella.

  • techson

    so the Secretary of Agriculture will be able to recall chicken after a lot of people get sick and or die?
    what will it take to classify salmonella Heidelberg as an adulterant? is there a way to just stop the madness?