Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on House passage of the Food Safety Enhancement Act, which will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new enforcement tools and funding to better ensure food safety and prevent food contamination. The House passed the bill this evening by a vote of 283 to 142.



"All parents deserve to have confidence that the food they are feeding their children is safe. Yet recent outbreaks of food-borne illness have proven that there are widespread problems with our current food safety system, as we rely on a more global and industrialized food supply.



"Every year, 76 million Americans are sickened from consuming contaminated food and 5,000 of these people die. In just the last few years, there have been numerous outbreaks of dangerous infections in common foods -- from spinach and tomatoes, to peanut butter and ground beef.



"This bipartisan, landmark bill will fundamentally change the way we protect public health against such outbreaks and update our federal food safety laws to keep pace with the changes in our food production and processing methods. It provides the FDA better access to the records of food producers and manufacturers, without having to wait for an outbreak of food-borne illness. And it strengthens penalties imposed on food facilities that fail to comply with safety requirements.



"American families have felt great urgency about the need to strengthen food safety standards. Congress has responded quickly with strong legislation that will protect lives and prevent illness."



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Source: Office of the Speaker of the House