Obama Seeks to Improve Food Safety
Sunday 14 March 2010President Obama announced new leadership and other changes today aimed at improving the safety of the U.S. food supply, declaring that shortcomings during the Bush administration created a "hazard to public health" that is "unacceptable."
In his weekly address to the nation, Obama said he is creating a "Food Safety Working Group" to recommend ways to "upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century." The Agriculture Department is also moving ahead with a rule that stalled during the Bush administration to ban all diseased cattle from entering the food supply.
Obama says in his address that the FDA was "underfunded and understaffed" during the Bush administration and that outbreaks from contaminated food have risen to 350 a year compared to 100 a year in the early 1990s. He also says approximately 95 percent of the nation's 150,000 food processing plants go without inspections each year.
Obama has proposed an extra $1 billion in his 2010 budget for more inspectors, improved laboratories and other improvements at FDA.