Friday, June 27, 2008

Lou Dobbs: Bush Should Be Impeached for Salmonella Outbreak

An angry Lou Dobbs of CNN assailed the ineptitude of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and place the blame squarely on President George W. Bush, calling for his impeachment (reported by Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute).

“You know, I have heard a lot of reasons over the years as to why George W. Bush should be impeached,” Dobbs said. “For them to leave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in this state, its leadership in this sorry condition and to have no capacity apparently or will to protect the American consumer – that is alone to me sufficient reason to impeach a president who has made this agency possible and has ripped its guts out in its ability to protect the American consumer.”

On June 18, Dobbs called the FDA “excessively intellectually challenged.” The night before he called the FDA “moronic.”

“The FDA, led by complete moronic, unengaged incompetents,” Dobbs said on his June 17 broadcast. “The idea that they would sit there and say that they’re not going to reveal where a cluster of this outbreak occurred, this is arrogant beyond belief. Who in the world do these idiots think they are? Who do they think they’re working for?”

Thursday, June 05, 2008

CSPI Proposes ban on Some Artificial Food Dyes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has petitioned the FDA to ban the artificial food dyes Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 3, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, and Orange B because they may cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children. You can see a CBS Evening News segment on this topic here.

Synthetic food dyes have been controversial for decades, but not until recently had any studies shown adverse effects. Information on three recent studies on food dyes and behavior are at available here on CSPI’s website.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Enhancing State and Local Roles in Food Safety - Public Symposium June 17, 2008

The symposium kicks off a new project in which three national organizations representing state and local food safety and health officials – The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) – will collaborate with The George Washington University (GWU) School of Public Health and Health Services to forge an updated agenda for enhancing the contribution state and local agencies make to the nation’s food safety system. The project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is being coordinated by GWU research professor Michael R. Taylor.

Confirmed speakers at the June 17 symposium include USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Margaret Glavin, state and local food safety regulators (Joe Corby of New York and David Ludwig of Maricopa County, Arizona), state and local health officials (David Bergmire-Sweat of North Carolina and Joseph Russell of Flathead County, Montana), David Gombas of United Fresh Produce Association, Bob Brackett of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Two additional workshops will be hosted by ASTHO, NACCHO, and AFDO over the summer to develop specific proposals for enhancing state and local roles in foodborne illness surveillance, outbreak response, food safety regulation and inspection at state and local levels.

In October 2008, the proposals developed at the workshops, which could include changes in law, policy, programs and resources, as well as other ideas for building a more effective, nationally integrated food safety system, will be discussed at a second public symposium in Washington for all interested stakeholders.

The June 17 symposium will be held from 8:30 am-12:30 pm in the Media and Public Affairs Building on the GWU campus in Washington, D.C., at 21st and H St., NW. The MPA building is located three blocks from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station on the Orange/Blue lines.

Please RSVP to by June 10 if you would like to attend. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie David at

Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety

The Food Safety Research Consortium (FSRC) released a new report that calls for sweeping changes in the way food safety information is collected and shared. The report, “Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety: Opportunities to Improve the Nation’s Food Safety Information Infrastructure,” was written by Michael Taylor (George Washington University) and Michael Batz (University of Florida) with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Some key findings include:

· System-wide improvement in how food safety information is collected and shared is essential to achieving the vision of a risk-based, preventive system in the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Protection Plan and in most of the food safety bills being developed in Congress.

· This lack of coordination is a consequence of the highly decentralized nature of the food safety system, built-in obstacles to data sharing in many government and private organizations and the lack of incentives and means for organizations and individuals to help meet the information needs of the system as a whole.

To address these problems, the authors recommend the following:

· Establish a national policy making it the duty of all federal agencies to better coordinate information collection, consider the information needs of the system as a whole, and maximize information sharing among all levels of government and with the private sector.

· Establish a forum to foster communication and collaboration among government, industry, consumers and academia to solve food safety information problems.

· Give high priority to enhancing the nation’s investment in food safety epidemiology and making the collection and sharing of epidemiological data more responsive to the needs of regulators, the food industry and consumers.

· Use the Web to connect dispersed databases and electronic networks in order to make it easier for those seeking food safety information to find it.

· Do a better job of prioritizing information collection and making valuable data generated by academic researchers and private firms more readily available to others in the food safety system.

· Provide adequate public resources to implement the new food safety information policy and program.

The full report and executive summary are available from the FSRC Web site at: