Some members of the U.S. House of Representatives want consumers to have more information about tainted food when the government issues a recall. For example where were the questionable food items sold?
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced legislation called The Food Safety Recall Information Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to list all the retail stores and school districts that have received food products that were subjected to a USDA recall. The measure has at least 10 co-sponsors.
"During the historic Westland/Hallmark recall of 143 million pounds of beef, consumers were denied important information about which stores or schools received the recalled products," DeLauro said. "Instead, consumers were forced to rely on sporadic media reports, which were not comprehensive and resulted in additional confusion.
"When a food safety recall occurs, consumers should be able to know which stores or schools received the potentially contaminated products so that they can better protect their families, and this bill would accomplish just that," DeLauro said.
DeLauro says the Bush Administration has opposed her bill, and has backed a USDA proposal that she says would make this information available only for the recalls that pose the highest risk.
"That means it would not have applied to the Westland/Hallmark recall," she said. That is inexcusable. Transparency is absolutely critical during any food safety recall."
Since March of 2006 USDA has had a proposed rule pending that would permit the agency to list retail consignees on its recall press releases. Following the historic Hallmark/Westland recall of 143 million pounds of beef, DeLauro said she repeatedly pressed USDA and the Office of Management and Budget to release the information, as well as allow the rule to move forward.
DeLauro says her bill would also eliminate the loophole that allows downer cattle to be slaughtered for the food supply.