Maybe death-melons will do some good after all: House Democrats are leveraging those listeria-tainted cantaloupes and other recent food-bourne illness outbreaks as ammo for their ongoing budget battles. According to the Hill, Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is taking direct aim at House Speaker John Boenher, calling an E. coli outbreak that sickened a family in his Butler County, Ohio, district a “wake-up call” for making food safety a bigger priority. But are Boenher and Republicans really to blame, or are Dems simply using the lapses in food safety for political gain?
Honestly, it’s a tough call. Even as these outbreaks appear to be coming with increasing frequency in the past year, the House approved sweeping cuts to the FDA and USDA’s food safety budgets when it passed its appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012 back in June. It slashes the USDA’s budget by as much as 10 percent and 3.4 percent for the FDA. These cuts, Food Safety News reports, have essentially undermined the FDA’s ability to meet the new guidelines laid out in the Food Safety Modernization Act that President Obama signed into law back in January.
E. coli in Boehner’s district draws Dem calls for tougher food-safety measures [Health Watch/Hill]
DeLauro Hits Boehner, GOP on Food Safety Funding [Food Safety News]