As Congress returns back to work in Washington for a few more weeks of their lame-duck session of Congress (and by the way, why is it so controversial that they actually do so? We thought that representatives were elected for two years - not a year and ten months), among the bills that the Senate will vote on that the House has already passed include the Food Safety Modernization Act. Similar legislation was passed in the House of Representatives in 2009 that was championed by Polk County Republican Adam Putnam, who introduced several provisions in the bill.
Putnam was elected Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture earlier this month, and during his campaign against Democrat Scott Maddox he frequently spoke about the legislation, though there are noticeable differences between what he and his colleagues voted on the House and what the Senate is contemplating.
Back when hundreds of millions of eggs were recalled this summer because of concerns about a salmonella outbreak, Putnam called on the Senate to get its act together and pass the legislation, saying at the time that:
Its often noted that our nations food supply is among the safest in the world. However, this most recent outbreak of salmonella, which may have sickened thousands of people, highlights the deficiencies in our food safety system that must be addressed.
Much of the current system was devised during the Teddy Roosevelt Administration, said Putnam. And every year seems to bring a new food safety concern: one year its pistachio nuts or peanut butter, and next its bagged spinach or Mexican jalapeno peppers. This year its eggs. The system needs to be modernized, streamlined and made more effective. The Senate has legislation before it, and it needs to take action now.