Candidates issue statements on beef recall

February 19, 2008

Both Senator Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton released statements on the Department of Agriculture’s decision to recall 143 million pounds of frozen beef that came from “downed” animals. The consumption of downed cattle pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella, and mad cow disease.

Senator Barack Obama released the following statement:

“Although the Department of Agriculture has now recalled the tainted beef, an estimated 37 million pounds has gone to school lunch programs, and unfortunately, officials believe that most of the meat has already been consumed by schoolchildren. This incident demonstrates yet again the inadequacy of the food recall process. Far too often, tainted food is not recalled until too late.

When I am President, it will not be business as usual when it comes to food safety. I will provide additional resources to hire more federal food inspectors. I will also call on the Department of Agriculture to examine whether federal food safety laws need to be strengthened, in particular to provide greater protections against tainted food being used in the National School Lunch Program.

As the parent of two young daughters, there are few issues more important to me than ensuring the safety of the food that our children consume. I commend the Humane Society of the United States for bringing this important issue to the public attention and believe that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health.”

Senator Hillary Clinton released the following statement: 

“The news today of the largest beef recall in our nation’s history is yet another troubling reminder that we have done too little to protect our food supply. This incident also reveals a danger to our children, since the Hallmark company is the second largest supplier to the U.S. School Lunch program. I believe that American families should not have to worry about the safety of the food on their dinner tables or in their children’s school lunches. That is why I have long been calling for common-sense – and long-overdue – food safety reforms, building on my work in the Senate. As President, I will fully fund our food safety system so that our inspectors have the resources and manpower they need to do their jobs. I will create a single food safety to replace the patchwork of regulation we have now. I will implement an effective recall system so that potentially tainted food immediately comes off of grocery store shelves and families receive instant notification. I will strictly enforce safety rules and impose stiff criminal and civil penalties on violators. And I will crack down on the slaughter of sick or injured cows, a practice which poses health risks to families and children. Now more than ever, America needs a President who will deliver concrete reforms that fill the gaps in our food safety system.”

Senator John McCain and former governor Mike Hucabee have not issued a statement.

http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/18/statement_of_senator_barack_ob_2.php, http://www.hillaryclinton.com/blog/

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