WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today called on Foster Farms to stop shipments of raw chicken until the cause of the current Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak is found. The outbreak has caused over 400 illnesses in 18 states since July, including Connecticut. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating the outbreak.
“For the good of public health, Foster Farms should immediately halt shipments of raw chicken until we know exactly what product, or products, is causing this Salmonella outbreak. The fact that this has been ongoing since July is an outrageous abdication of responsibility by everyone involved. Nearly half of the people exposed to this strain of Salmonella have been hospitalized. We cannot waste time when people’s health is at stake.
“If only Republicans had been adequately funding our food safety response system, instead of, for example, cutting CDC funding by roughly $1 billion since 2010, we may have been better equipped to respond. The fact that CDC had to call back furloughed employees who were needed to help investigate the outbreak demonstrates the dangers the Republican shutdown is having on public health. While the House Republican answer may be to bring another bill to the floor to continue funding for the CDC rather than simply re-opening the government, this piecemeal approach is simply inadequate to ensuring that the entire government is functioning properly to protect American consumers.
“Unfortunately, with 15 different federal agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing food safety, we have long been taking a piecemeal approach to our responsibilities in that area of public health. It is long past time for a single food safety agency to deal with these threats.”