In an interview today with Fox News, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) called on the Senate to act on food safety legislation to update the nation's defenses against foodborne illness.
The late 2008/early 2009 salmonella outbreak linked to Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) claimed at least nine lives and sickened more than 600 nationwide, including Jake Hurley of Wilsonville, Oregon, who was also featured in the interview. More than a year and a half after the outbreak, the federal government is still investigating PCA CEO Stewart Parnell, who according to the Associated Press is once again working in the peanut industry, despite his company being responsible for the largest food recall in the nation's history.
"Why after nearly 18 months they haven't brought charges, I cannot explain," Walden said today. "This is not swift and certain justice for anyone involved."
As a result of numerous oversight hearings, the House passed bipartisan legislation last year to bring the nation's food safety defenses up to date. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week urged the Senate to act as well so a bill could hit the President's desk by year's end.
"The House acted on bipartisan legislation a year ago to try and correct this problem and the Senate has yet to take it up," Rep. Walden said today in an interview with Fox News. "The Senate needs to act as well so we can send a final product to the President and protect kids like Jake Hurley."