Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the Congressional Food Safety Caucus, today led a letter with 10 of her House Democratic colleagues urging President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to submit a qualified nominee for the Under Secretary for Food Safety vacancy. This presidentially appointed position, which oversees our nation's food safety policies and regulations, has gone unfilled for over four years.
"Food safety policies impact the lives of each and every American, and thus it is vitally important that the leadership void created by this vacancy be filled immediately," wrote the Members. "The [Government Accountability Office] found that the amount of multistate foodborne illness outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has increased over time. Today, around 48 million Americans are affected by foodborne illnesses per year, which results in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths."
"With the Administration proposing large scale changes in the area of food safety, this appointment could not come at a more welcomed or timely moment. These various changes -- moving the U.S. Codex Office from the Food Safety and Inspection Service to the Trade and Foreign Affairs mission area, the proposed changes to the inspection of livestock slaughter, as well as the recent cooperative agreement between USDA and FDA on implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act -- could all gain from the expertise and input of a qualified expert on food safety," continued the Members. "Without question, filling this vital leadership position will have a positive influence on the Department, as well as the country."
A copy of the full letter can be found here.