Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Food Safety: Where the Candidates Stand

As a follow-up to my post of yesterday, I decided to Google the various Presidential Primary candidates who are still in the running, in order to find out what they have said and done about food safety issues in the past, and where they stand today. Within each party, I have listed the candidates in alphabetical order.

The Republicans

Mike Huckabee: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been silent on the issue, as far as I can tell. His official website lists Agriculture as a policy area, but he makes no mention of food safety. Governor Huckabee's focus is on self-sufficiency in food and energy supplies, encouraging young people to consider agriculture as a career choice, and providing subsidies to help American farmers.

John McCain: Senator McCain has been a Washington political fixture for many years. He was present during the major food recalls of the 1990s, as well of the more recent outbreaks and recalls of the current decade. Yet, I have been unable to find any mention at all - either on his official Senate website, on his official campaign website or on his list of news releases - of the importance of improving and maintaining the safety of our food supply.

Ron Paul: Congressman Ron Paul proposed House Resolution 4077 to permit the interstate shipment of raw milk, and opposed the National Mandatory ID system for farm animals.

The Democrats

Hillary Clinton: Senator Clinton has a long history of advocating improvements to the national food safety system. In 2001, she co-sponsored an amendment to the proposed 2002 FDA budget to increase funding for food safety activities, and argued against a move to exempt meat from federal inspection. She has also called for an investigation into outbreaks of E. coli O157, has urged the FDA and USDA to form a joint task force to examine ways to improve food safety, and has pushed for implementation of Country of Origin Labeling of imported food and feed. Senator Clinton's campaign web site outlines her food safety policy proposals, which include consolidating federal food safety responsibility into a single agency.

Barack Obama: Senator Obama released a statement in reaction to the recent recall of meat by Hallmark/Westland, following the Humane Society's report of animal abuse at the slaughterhouse. I have searched his official senate web site and his campaign web site, but have been unable to find any other policy statements or significant actions relating to food safety.

With the occurrence of an estimated 76 million cases of food-borne illness and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, food safety issues deserve to be on the radar screen of every serious candidate. Please post a comment if you have any additional information on the positions or actions taken by any of these candidates.

1 comment:

  1. An Addendum:

    I have just finished scanning through Senator Obama's "Blueprint For Change", which can be found on his campaign web site. On page 32, he states his support for implementing the Country of Origin Labeling law.


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