E. Coli Outbreak Shows the Need for Our Safe Food Act

The following is a joint entry from Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), sponsors of H.R. 1507, the Safe Food Act:

Last week we were all shocked to learn of the multi-state E. Coli outbreak from bagged spinach that claimed the life of one person and put so many in the hospital. This horrible outbreak reinforces the need for a strong, consolidated food safety inspection system.

That is why we are calling on Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) to hold a hearing on our "Safe Food Act" legislation. This legislation would consolidate all food safety agencies and establish the Food Safety Administration, responsible for the creation, administration and enforcement of our food safety laws. Under current law, food safety monitoring, inspection and labeling functions are spread across 12 agencies in the federal government. The involvement of so many agencies can result in duplication of responsibilities, service gaps and inconsistencies and confusion about which agency oversees different types of food.

E. coli is most often associated with contaminated meat, but this outbreak demonstrates the need to be alert on all fronts. That is why the Energy and Commerce committee should act on the Safe Food Act immediately.