Senator Durbin has been a strong voice since the beginning of the petfood recall for the FDA to ‘clean up’ their act.

From his Sen. Durbin’s website:

Clean Up The Pet Food Supply

For more than 100 million Americans, a cat or dog is part of the family. That’s why the recent pet food contamination crisis, a tragedy that has led to the illness or deaths of thousands of pets across the country, has hit so close to home.

Recently, I spearheaded a Senate Committee hearing to find out what went wrong — why contaminated pet food made its way into the food supply, and how we can make sure it never happens again. So far, we’ve learned that the response of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been wholly inadequate.

And on May 1, a new Food Safety bill was introduced:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today introduced legislation that will revise and upgrade the nation’s food safety system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of the federal agencies charged with safeguarding the U.S. food supply, has come under fire recently in the wake of nationwide recalls and/or quarantines of tainted pork, spinach, peanut butter and pet food.

Durbin and DeLauro’s legislation would give the FDA the power to order mandatory recalls of adulterated food products, establish an early warning and notification system for human food, as well as pet food, and establish fines for companies that don’t promptly report contaminated products.

“The product recalls that we have seen in the past few weeks – first with pet food and then with food intended for human consumption – have shown us that food-borne illness is a dangerous and real threat in this country,” Durbin said. “There are gaps in the inspection, monitoring, notification and enforcement elements of our food system and we must act now to address them. We simply cannot afford to let consumers continue to be the guinea pigs in our food safety system.” (read the full story here)

And from HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States Praises Senate Passage of Legislation to Protect Food Supply

May 2, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States today commended the U.S. Senate for moving swiftly to safeguard the human and animal food supply following a massive pet food recall.

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation yesterday that would enhance the nation’s ability to protect the food supply. More information on the legislation is available here .

The Senate approved the legislation today, by a vote of 94 to 0, as a Durbin amendment to a broad bill regarding the Food and Drug Administration (S. 1082).

“The Humane Society of the United States commends Senator Durbin for his fast action to protect the food supply for people and their pets,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. “The last six weeks have exposed that the safety standards for pet foods are not in place in any significant way and the constant drumbeat, day after day, of recalls has shaken consumers’ confidence in the pet food industry’s adherence to food safety standards.”

The HSUS urges the House of Representatives to move quickly to pass the Durbin/DeLauro legislation.

Today’s amendment would require the Food and Drug Administration to set processing and ingredient standards for pet food, strengthen labeling requirements, establish an early warning system for contaminated food products, improve communication with the public and veterinarians during recalls, and take other steps to help prevent needless deaths and illnesses.

This is definately a step in the right directionm both for our pets and for us.  We need to be able to trust that our food supplies are safe, that they’re not going to kill us or our beloved furred companions. So big kudos to Senator Durbin and DeLauro for speaking out for us and for those who can’t speak for themselves!

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