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Recent E. coli Outbreak Underscores Critical Need for Food-Safety Reform

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 General News J E 4
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Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), Victims of Foodborne Illness, and Public Health Expert Call on the Senate to Act

*TELEBRIEFING*

WHAT: On Wednesday, May 19, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) will join victims of foodborne illness and public health experts to discuss the recent E. coli outbreak and the need for swift passage of the U.S. Senate bill S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 76 million new cases of food-related illness - resulting in 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations - occur in the United States annually. Continuing outbreaks every year show that this is not a problem that is going away. Additionally, a recent study - "Health-Related Costs from Foodborne Illness in the United States" - by a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) economist estimates the health-related costs of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its food-safety bill (H.R. 2749) last July, and late in 2009, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions unanimously approved S. 510.

WHO: Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Andrew Lekas, Bloomfield Hills, MI-resident, recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and victim of the recent E. coli outbreak linked to bagged lettuce

Elizabeth Armstrong, Fishers, IN-resident and mother of six-year-old Ashley Armstrong, who got sick from contaminated spinach when she was a toddler and suffers from kidney and other related health problems

Dr. Craig Hedberg, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Sandra Eskin (moderator), director of the Food Safety Campaign, Pew Health Group

WHEN: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 3:00 p.m. EST

RSVP: Contact Paula Chrin Dibley, 202-478-6138 or pchrin@mrss.com, for call-in information

WHY: Continued outbreaks of foodborne illness over the last several years - from spinach to peppers to peanuts - have demonstrated that these outbreaks are not random, unpreventable occurrences, but are due to widespread problems with the nation's food-safety system. U.S. food-safety oversight is broken and has been in need of reform for decades. This year, Congress has the opportunity to change course and help protect children, families, senior citizens and all others from foodborne illness.

www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- May 18/

SOURCE Make Our Food Safe Coalition
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