President Obama this week declared war on the Chinese Poison Train, announcing that the FDA will receive $1 billion in new funds for modern testing labs and additional food safety inspectors. Inspecting less than 5% of our food processing plants is apparently a “hazard to public health, and “it is unacceptable.” So what’s really behind the new policy shift? No, it’s not those melamine murders or salmonella outbreaks. It’s seven-year-old first daughter Sasha Obama!
In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your President, but as a parent. When I heard peanut products were being contaminated earlier this year, I immediately thought of my 7-year old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week. No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch. Just as no family should have to worry that the medicines they buy will cause them harm. Protecting the safety of our food and drugs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities government has, and, with the outstanding team I am announcing today, it is a responsibility that I intend to uphold in the months and years to come.
Obama also announced the creation of a working group charged with building a food safety framework that doesn’t look like something out of the first Roosevelt administration.
Consumers Union has called on the FDA to inspect all food processing plants at least once every year. If the President really wants to make everyone happy he’ll consolidate the food safety mandates spread across the government under a single all-powerful agency.
Still, nothing speaks louder than new funding, and we sure do like what the President is saying.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Barack Obama Announces Key FDA Appointments and Tougher Food Safety Measures [The White House]
President calls for FDA reform as Republicans continue to attack the budget [Consumer Reporter]
(Photo: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, with cute dead skull from cutedeadthings.com.)