Hearing of the House Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce - H.R. 3610, The Food and Drug Import Saftey Act
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REP. HEATHER WILSON (R-NM): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The events over the last year really highlighted for Americans and raised awareness of just how vulnerable our food supply is, and it's not just food; it's food, medicine, consumer products, even our water and the things that we drink -- are vulnerable to contamination -- not only accidental contamination or what might have been unintentional or the result of bad sanitary practices and companies that are poorly regulated overseas, but the potential for intentional contamination of our food supply. It's a serious issue and we have a duty in this Congress to make sure that imported food and goods are safe from contamination, whether accidental or intentional; make sure that any problem with the food supply is detected so that we prevent public health problems before they occur.
My colleagues on this committee have recounted the problems that we've had with China, but it is not a single-country issue. Globalization creates a vulnerability here in the United States and starting at our border is not where we need to be. I believe very strongly that we need an integrated system for food safety and security with layers of protection.
I look forward to the testimony here today and to looking at the legislation in front of us to make sure that we are providing that integrated system for food safety and security rather than setting up a system where there are single points of potential failure after which public health problems can occur.
We have a food safety laboratory in the state of New Mexico at New Mexico State University, and I'm a strong supporter of what they do, not only in food technology evaluation but also in the counterterrorism technologies laboratory where they develop tools in order to make sure that our food supply is safe.
I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses today and look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to make sure we strengthen our ability to prevent the intentional or unintentional contamination of America's food supply.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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