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DeLauro Statement on Cookie Dough E. Coli Contamination

June 19, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn. – 3), chairwoman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement following the recall of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products because of potential Escherichia coli 0157:H7 (E. Coli) contamination. It has been reported that 66 people in 28 states have become ill, 25 cases required hospitalization.

“Importantly, the agency now has in place new leadership that understands its responsibility to ensure the safety of the food the American people eat by not only responding to food borne illness outbreaks, but also implementing measures to prevent those outbreaks from occurring.

“To aid those efforts, the House Appropriations Committee yesterday approved an almost $300 million increase for the FDA, providing the agency nearly $3 billion for the upcoming year. This is on top of the 39 percent increase in funding Congress has provided the agency since 2007.

“This most recent E. coli outbreak serves as a reminder that Congress must pass the strongest food safety legislation possible to protect our food supply. Ultimately, I believe that means separating the food safety functions from the FDA and to create a food safety agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Given the new leadership, additional resources, and food safety reform legislation, the FDA will have the critical investments necessary to transform and significantly improve the agency’s ability to protect the food we eat.”