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DeLauro Applauds the FDA for Closing Dixie Dew Processing Plant

March 31, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (March 31, 2017) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to shut down a contaminated food processing plant that has been linked to an ongoing E. coli outbreak. FDA’s investigation into the Dixie Dew plant in Erlanger, Kentucky revealed food safety violations going back at least 15 years, which included broken temperature control equipment, an infestation of flies and larva, production machines that have not been cleaned since 2015, and no hot water in hand-washing sinks for the last two years.

“Dixie Dew’s gross negligence is sickening dozens of Americans and leaving thousands more at risk of falling seriously ill. With fifteen years of food safety violations, I am outraged that it took 29 Americans falling sick before the Dixie Dew plant closed,” said DeLauro. “Not only did Dixie Dew fail to take action to prevent contamination of its products, we do not even know all of the names and locations of where the recalled products were sold.

“While the FDA made the right decision in shutting down the Dixie Dew plant, the agency should take another step forward and reverse its policy of withholding the names and locations of stores and schools where recalled food products are sold,” continued DeLauro. “As we have seen with Dixie Dew, it is irresponsible and insufficient to rely on the good faith of food corporations to provide all the necessary recall information. Americans deserve to know these details to ensure their health and safety.”

Earlier this month, DeLauro wrote to the FDA, calling on the agency to reverse its policy of withholding the names and locations of stores and schools where recalled food products are sold. However, the agency has not responded to DeLauro’s letter, nor has it changed its policy. The E. coli outbreak linked to soy nut butter produced by Dixie Dew includes at least 29 confirmed cases across 12 states, including 24 victims younger than 18 years old.

Last year, DeLauro demanded that the FDA shut down a Dole salad plant after it was found to be the source of a Listeria outbreak that killed four people and sickened dozens more. DeLauro has long fought for increased food safety, having introduced the Safe Food Act to establish a single food safety agency, and having helped enact the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was the most sweeping reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years. DeLauro is a senior member on the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the FDA.