Press Room

Nov 30 2010

Dr. Coburn Says Food Safety Bill Won’t Make Food Safer

Senate rejects Coburn substitute amendment

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after the Senate passed a flawed food safety bill and rejected his alternative plan.

“The bill the Senate passed today will grow the government, increase food prices, and drive small producers out of business without making our food any safer. America has the safest food supply in the world – and it has been getting safer – because the free market and consumers have held bad actors accountable. This bill destroys that balance and replaces common sense with the heavy hand of government,” Dr. Coburn said.

The Coburn substitute would have required better coordination among agencies like the FDA and USDA and helped implement better information technology systems. The Coburn substitute also would have leveraged the free market by utilizing private inspections, which would have allowed the FDA to focus on bad actors.

“Instead of addressing the problems that do exist and have contributed to food scares, such as a lack of coordination between agencies, Congress decided to spend billions of dollars, add 250 pages of new regulations, and give government new powers that will lead to unnecessary and costly food recalls. The recent salmonella outbreak did not occur because we lacked this bill. That scare occurred because regulations that were already on the books were not implemented,” Dr. Coburn said.

“This bill is a typical Washington response to a perceived crisis. In every area of government we see diminishing returns when government spends billions without any hope of improved outcomes. Millions of Americans are fed up with ‘security theater’ at the Department of Homeland Security and are about to witness an outbreak of ‘food-safety theater’ from the FDA. In the coming months and years consumers will see that more government does not mean safer food,” Dr. Coburn said.

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