BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A United States senator from New York is pushing new legislation that would help prevent food-borne illness. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to combine the separate food safety authorities into one agency.
Gillibrand explained her position, “We should be inspecting much more and what the FDA will tell you, we need more resources, and so when we go to Congress and we say ‘you need to make this a priority,’ what we’re finding is deaf ears.”
News 4 Investigates aired a report in November, “Your Food: What do you really know?” That report revealed imports make up 17 percent of all food eaten in the U.S. But at best only two percent of it is inspected by the FDA, which has oversight over most of the food supply.
Gillibrand is pushing to consolidate 15 federal food safety agencies by creating a single focal point for food safety. She believes those efforts will help prevent food-borne illness by allowing food recalls to happen more quickly, improve inspections and enhance enforcement against unsafe food.
Gillibrand says an estimated three million New Yorkers get sick from the food they eat each year.
“I still think we have a long way to go in a year when we are going to be debating trade this issue of imports is far more important.” Gillibrand said, “I think we have to have minimum standards and I think we have to have requirements and we don’t have them.”
Gillibrand will also propose new legislation that would compel stores with customer loyalty card programs to call and email consumers when meat, poultry or eggs they have purchased get recalled.