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Public Statements

Food Safety Enhancement Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, this really ought to be called Jake's Law, after 3-year-old Jake Hurley of Wilsonville, Oregon. In February, before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Jake's father, Peter, testified about how Jake contracted salmonella from eating peanut butter products from Peanut Corporation of America in Georgia.

In January, Jake became sick. His doctors asked his parents, what does he like to eat? They recommended some food products. As it turned out, those very food products in their home were contaminated with salmonella that came about because of PCA.

So when Stewart Parnell, the PCA president, testified before our Oversight Committee, I asked him, Would you like to sample some of the products that you sent out to little kids like Jake and other Americans to eat? His response? He took the Fifth Amendment.

Thankfully, Jake recovered. But nine people died from the outbreak, and at least 691 people, half of them children, were sickened.

If PCA had to follow a law like this that would require a fully-functioning food safety plan at food production facilities, traceability of the food chain, increased inspection and recall authority from FDA, there is a good chance that the salmonella outbreak could have been avoided and Jake and hundreds of others never would have been poisoned.

Because of Jake's story and others like it we uncovered in bipartisan O&I food safety hearings since 2007, we now have a bipartisan piece of legislation here to pass the House of Representatives; and I urge your support for it, for the food safety of our country and the citizens that live here.


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