House Dem: Asia trade deal would threaten food safety

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“This is an area where I believe that trade is trumping public health in a very significant way,” DeLauro said Thursday.

She added that the Obama administration is not taking a long-term strategy to protect food safety in the trade deal by beefing up domestic inspection efforts.

“This deal will lead to an influx of seafood imports from Asia, and we should therefore enhance funding for food safety at the FDA,” she said. “We’re at a government shutdown here at the moment. They’ve been trying to starve FDA of resources at the best of times.”

On Saturday, President Obama is scheduled to leave for an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia, where the TPP will be a central item on the agenda. Obama's trip could be scuttled by the ongoing government shutdown, however.

The Obama administration has said it wants to finalize the trade deal by the end of the year.

To move quickly, the administration has sought to fast track the negotiating authority to prevent lawmakers in Congress from picking it apart.

DeLauro said that she would oppose that process.

“We are just not here to rubber stamp what gets done,” she said.

Lawmakers have also expressed concern about a slew of other provisions in the trade deal, from sugar to textiles.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told reporters that he was skeptical about intellectual property measures that could make it difficult for some countries to obtain medicine.

“I’m going to be sure that any country that’s dealing with AIDS or any other epidemic has access to any drugs that they need,” he said.

-- This story was updated at 5:00 p.m. to correct the number of nations participating in the trade negotiations