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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 5, 2009 11:30am-12:00pm EDT

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time, mr. chairman. i will yield back. . . that it reflects many years of input from members. i thought that john angles, it is almost old enough to vote was particularly apt and that applies to me to.
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and i think coming from a state like california witches of the largest agricultural producer in the country, we ignore food safety at our peril. the vice chairman, diana, was chronicling some of the recent outbreaks and how important it is two have traceability and mandatory recall, i agree, and they could have saved a lot of pain, a lot of cost and a lot of health problems had had those measures in place so i just want to include by saying that we have an able and willing partner facing us this morning. and i think we have an able and willing committee on a bipartisan basis to engage with her and i'm very eager to see us make progress and in that legislation close to the committee draft as soon as possible. its international interest and surely as we talk about grandchildren it is in our grandchildren's interests, i
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yield back the balance of my time. >> thank-you. the gentlewoman from tennessee, mr. blackburn. >> thank you mr. chairman and i want to well, dr. tim jones who is going to be on our second panel. he is hiding over. the back. you must be one of the baptists from tennessee, sitting in the back row until time for him to come forward, but dr. jones is an epidemiologist with the department of health in our great state. does a wonderful job for our state and i'm absolutely delighted we're going to be able to hear from him today on the second panel so dr. jones thank you for taking the time to tom. while the draft legislation before us attempts to improve the safety and efficacy of the nation's food supply it appears a there is still a lot of room for improvement in am appreciative that we're having the hearing and i am hopeful that we are going to be able to work in a bipartisan way on this
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issue. i appreciate the majority's attempt to improve the food safety system, but i think that we all know especially those of us who are mothers, we know that you can't inspect your way to food safety. we know that this legislation is going to have to do more than be reactive. this legislation broadly increases the speed to authority to make it one of the largest federal agencies in the existence. my concern is the growth of bureaucracy and what is going to happen in and that bureaucracy and groce. what i do think is necessary and i think it is necessary that our system be at risk based, that it be preventative and take that approach, and that it attractively targets bad actors. it's imperative that resources are focused on high risk in a
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innovation and, however, this bill places undue burden on small businesses and they would be harmed by burdensome and expensive provisions that are found in this current draft legislation. the fda has provided no evidence that it has improved its internal processes in order to improve the review of the nation's food supply. this is something we have talked about endlessly in this committee and in hearing so we are looking for to having some questions on this. there seems to be and you haven't proven otherwise that there are established protocols and lines of communication between different jurisdictions. you have not shown that there are best practices in been about 13 months ago i asked for a list of best practices on its triagency communication and how you are sharing this information, how you are working
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with your affiliate's so that everyone can more easily pinpoint and get to the bottom of the problems and bad actors and issues that are coming forward. yesterday the fda announced they are studying ways to make agency more transparent. this should of been done before we passed the bill that would give the agency millions of dollars in user fees and i'm going to yield my time back and said that michael statement for the record and report to the questions. >> thank-you, the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, ms. christensen. >> thank you mr. chairman and welcome back dr. hamburg. i know at new yorkers suffered a great loss but the nation needs a more accurate and i also think it is refitting as we come back to congress and begin to put the nuts and bolts on our health care reform legislation the first hearing is with fda because i believe we'll began not with an overhaul and better
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resource in a separate and drug administration, from the food safety enhancement act that we're looking at and drafted and and the family smoking and control act of 2009 looking at a new fda and have the talent and the opportunity to make this important institution in ways better serve the health of the american public also fostering, guiding and supporting the bringing a new and better treatment to us as well. i have confidence in a better race doris fda with more authority and one that is not overly prescriptive. i don't want to be overly prescriptive on what we tell the agency to do but hope we can allow to do is john based on a clear authority, adequate resources and sound science. in the case of food safety in this my first three months on this committee by been alarmed to find out what has happened that has put the public's health in jeopardy from salmonella to
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some questions about even the irb process and several other areas so we're here to help to treat a better come up stronger fda in this hearing is part of that and i thank you and all of the panelists were sharing their experience and expertise with us this morning. >> thank you, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy. >> thank you mr. chairman and welcome dr. hamburg. pennsylvania's industry is agriculture and that comes food-processing and. we're honored to have national companies like hershey's, companies like welshes that grows grapes and more locally in the pittsburgh area regional distributors like giant eagle, national distributors and, of course, big bands like del monte and corporate headquarters of heinz. and small companies like sears chocolate the cells around the country. all of them have talked with us about concerns for this bill and certainly are very supportive to make sure we have strong fda and we want to make sure that happens. a few questions are raised and i
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hope i can remain for part of the hearing so i will have to leave for the floor but a number of issues making sure there is no one intended consequences that leads to increased price for consumers but work on the registration fee particularly as a man at smaller businesses. also with regard to the traceability, we need to be clear what the obligations are for the process and fresh food industry -- traceability of every an agreement that went to the product. for example of a local restaurant chain makes cookies trying to track every single ingredient that comes up with its pacific food colored dye may be a problem with them and like to make sure we make that work for the safety of consumers but not in a way that impairs companies from doing their work and also unintended consequences of giving copies of all test results could be less testing. as companies go through lots of tests for products that never
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make it to market, would it be to test hundreds of samples each day to be available or a change to the testing of products in the marketplace. with regard to the country of origin labeling and disclosure, to list every increase in on a website will increase the cost of resources and not necessarily bring added value and the recent general levels such as the same and this product may contain ingredients from one or more of the following countries. also praising them for as of making sure all enforcement standards and the officers and auditors are well-trained and calibrated to work to define audit standards. there is concern about happens with the family farm that sells a local grocery stores and what level they would have to comply and would it be that the fees for them would be so high they simply could not sell any product outside of their own farm store and does that compare small distributors, how do we help them.
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another issue, one of them a package food at the stores such as some value add ground beef products made in their meat departments, what happens if they make some other foods at the store and how this that affect them in other way is. so certainly in pennsylvania we want strong at food safety bills and protect consumers and small businesses to be encouraged and large businesses supported but encourage new startups but more than anything we want the penguins to win the stanley cup and i yield back. [laughter] >> thank you. the gentleman from texas, mr. braley. >> mr. chairman, wanted thank you for holding the hearing on the discussion draft of the food safety legislation, there have been high profile contamination incidents in the united states including peanut butter and tim nato and this committee is investigating these incidents. these hearings on the fda have clearly shown us that it does not have the resources, finding
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our manpower and technology to protect american food supply and fulfill its mission. chairman dingell, and in peanut butter have worked on this issue. i am hopeful the riss hearing and discussion draft will bring us one step closer and passing food safety legislation out of the house. i have a brief chance to review this and briefly discuss a couple of issues that concern me -- it allows for food imports and to be inspected by labs to conduct sample analysis and i support the provision go live to see an investment in construction of fda labs and the port of houston is the largest in terms of foreign and improves our energy industry by the import of 606,000 tons of imported food in 2007, the port of houston does not have a fda lab and surprising no fda laugh-in taxes even though we
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share the longest border with mexico. i have yet to understand texas with its level of trade it does not have a fda lab and, in fact, there are over 300 ports of entry in the u.s. and only 13 parts and chile have fda labs. i hope my colleagues will forgive me but the close the fda in lab empire state of texas located in arkansas. in houston isn't the only import area and texas and cities like laredo is one of the largest block ports of entry in the world imports from mexico literally trailers, thousands of travelers on a weekly basis. it seems unwise and unsafe to have the lab for the empire state of texas hundreds of miles away in another state, the location of labs need to be evaluated and reports submitted to congress on whether the labs are located where they are most needed a. discussion draft allows fda to assess current lab locations and
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relocate labs as necessary and i like to hear from the fda on whether they have plans to evaluate current locations. congress also is to allocate funds to the building of more fda labs and employees to see the budget allocation of funds for laughs so it insures the food supply of any to build more labs in areas where food imports are arriving such as houston's of the fda can quickly and accurately test our food imports and ensure food safety. thank you mr. chairman and i look for to hearing our witnesses and thank you again, our new fda director for appearing before the committee can i thank you mr. green. ranking member, mr. barton. >> thank you mr. chairman, i will be very brief. we support their being legislative hearing and hearing on his safety. we think it is time to digest
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this problem in a bipartisan fashion it at all possible and to think it is important we try to get right it at all possible. we understand that it is your wish and the full committee chairman swished and former chairman dingell's wished to move with legislation sometime this month, republicans are ready to help. if we can't agree on a bill that provides a the fda with the tools that it needs to ensure the safety of our food supply, but we will not support new blanket authority is that are designed merely to empower the bureaucracy. nearly everybody says that quote, we cannot inspector way to safety, and many systems that reliably prevent sickness by applying resources in those places that are most susceptible to contamination. the draft before us proposes several areas to strengthen prevention of food analyst outbreak, such as requiring all
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manufacturers to have food safety plans and also the creation of appropriate to produce standards. these ideas make sense and have universal support. we are concerned however, the parts of the draft and more weight than quality to the regulations and in our opinion provide too much discretion to the fda. without any corresponding facility benefit. for example, country of origin labeling is not about food safety, as a practical matter will simply increase the cost of groceries at the store. we know this because expert has testified at the committee that this provision is absolutely no effect on safety. there are several other specific concerns with the draft including the level and scope of the registration fees. i will say that the registration fees are less in this draft than the have been in some previous drafts so i can at least a we are moving in the right
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direction. having said that, it doesn't appear -- it does appear that the majority simply wants 300 to $400 million in additional funds for the fda and we can't see that there is a clear purpose for that amount of funding. having said that, we look for in to the hearings and if we can work on some of these problems we are prepared to be positively engaged in the markup that comes after the hearings. with that, mr. chairman, wheeled back. >> thank you mr. barton. the gentleman from ohio, miss austen. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank-you for holding this hearing on the six or nearly a issue. i want to extend my appreciation to the sponsor of this bill and all of those who for so long
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have been fighting the fight to fix our food safety system and make sure that the food that is on the table to feed their families is a for their consumption and that which goes to them to school, they can fear not that it will be safe for their children to eat. tehran -- chairman emeritus dingell, i thank you for your efforts in improving our food safety net or along with representative dingell, chairman stupak and others on both sides of the aisle, and look for and to working with you. as you may know, the very for his bill i introduced in the house i believe was a bill that called for mandatory recall authority for the fda, and there's a reason for that. we have seen these problems arise again and again and again within our food safety network and the american people i think would have been shot as i was to
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learn that our government does not have the authority to issue a mandatory recall when it became apparent that it was necessary. ohio has suffered the a fax of problems with our lives a system, most recently the salmonella outbreak has climbed lives and harmed many throughout the buckeye state. it is critical that we are moving forward with a comprehensive bill to finally address and ensure the safety of america's tables and our system. thank you so much, i yield back. >> thank-you. gentleman from michigan, mr. rogers. >> thank you mr. chairman, congratulations commissioner, breyer confirmation and i look forward to working with you on the difficult issues ahead. i'm glad we're focused on food safety and we can all agree that the fda needs more resources to protect the food supply and strengthen public health. i am concerned however, this might be a ready shoot a man
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event, we just passed a fairly onerous bell and added authority to the fda that had a huge loophole in it that allow tobacco regulation to be barred from the general fund of the fda. so you have this whole of it millions and millions of dollars of which are going to have to try to apply to thousands and thousands of the regulators at the same time try to improve food safety and i can't think of anything more important than our food supply -- by hat is off to you commissioner on the challenge of what you have accepted it as we all know the fda is currently unable to inspect the majority of the facilities. worse many high-risk facilities have gone without inspection and oversight at all. we have seen the impact of this failure with numerous salmonella and e. coli outbreaks which have sickened thousands and even lead to death. i hope that this bill can eventually be a bipartisan bill however many of the concerns that we have expressed have not
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been addressed and we have not have the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion before this bill has come before the committee and that's horribly unfortunate when talking about food safety and issues. the user fees in this draft are concerning to me, as written it would require $1,000 and registration fee for food facility with the funds totaling three and $75 million which will be passed along to consumers which are regular families time to pay their bills already, there is nothing in there that dedicates this to new inspections so we've come up a new tax regiment that doesn't benefit to the fda in getting into the place where you need it most which his inspectors for food facilities and food supply. it makes no sense to me and that's something we have to change in this bill or madam commissioner you are going to look at a tough call to fill again. there's nothing in here that tell separators where to put that money so that you can best use it to accomplish the mission of which this will tell you and
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has to do without telling where the money's coming from. that's the most dangerous when you think about this plus the fda tobacco regulation authority that allows them to take your money for food supply inspections and drug approval and use it for hiring new regulators for tobacco. that's a real problem that we need to fix on only in this bill at least i hope it can. and food producers are required to pay this new tax they should absolutely have the certainty the funds will be used for food safety inspections. i think that is common sense and we can all agree that i hope toç work with the majority to get that taken care of. the draft inspection schedule seems almost impossible to achieve it. today at home commissioner that you can shed some light on whether a practical of risk based inspection schedule should look like and i hope you can cover that today in your statement and to questions. also have several other concerns, the new broad recall
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authorities important but how is done is incredibly important and expansive new civil penalty regime, new labeling requirements the don't seem to have anything to do with food safety. i think all of these issues we can address if we were together in a bipartisan manner and i think, around something we can all believe needs to happen and that is more resources for inspection and food safety regimes that this be two has a primary responsibility for. i look for to working with you and thank you mr. chairman for this i think all import hearing. >> they give mr. rogers. the gentleman from as consummate, miss baldwin. >> thank you mr. chairman, i appreciate the fact you're holding today's hearing and wanted judge my colleagues in commending you and chairman steve packin and chairman emeritus dingell for putting this a very important discussion draft before us that addresses
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the very serious challenges that we face with respect to food safety. before i begin my remarks i like to submit for the record written testimony from the secretary of the department of agriculture trade and consumer protection in the state of wisconsin. >> without objection so ordered. >> thank you mr. chairman. food safety is an issue of great concern to me and my constituents. approximately one in four people in this country are affected or sickened by foodborne disease each year. as americans we rely on government to keep a safe and as government we have fallen down on the job. as we consider this draft legislation, i know that our goal is to empower the fda to prevent food contamination incidents before they occur. i hope that we do so with appropriate and sufficient resources, but also with precise coordination between other federal agencies, the states and
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the private sector. currently with its limited resources this fda focuses its inspections on large manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce and it leaves much of the front line where to the states. this bill creates a risk based inspection system that significantly increases the frequency of inspections here and i want to make sure that we are not duplicating efforts and that we can empower states to perform their work on the ground with logistical and financial support. i urge the fda to use this legislation to create a stronger or integrated who say the system that leverage the state and local resources. another -- as another result of a limited resources fda relies on and many private sector firms to conduct food safety tasting -- testing on a contractual basis. i am pleased to the discussion draft includes a provision that
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would allow a laboratory accreditation process, facilitating the fda's use of third-party lavatories to perform testing and want to make sure that the conflict of interest language in the bill does not prevent some of the most experienced laboratories plummeted their strong partnership with the fda moving forward. i look for to hearing your testimony dr. hamburg and that of the other witnesses tonight and i thank you again mr. chairman for this hearing him and thank you. gentleman from georgia,. >> thank you mr. chairman, mr. chairman, public health officials estimated that 76 million people become sick, 325,000 are actually hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses caused by contamination. incidents like those in my own home state of georgia where the actions of the few bad actors and a breakdown in effect of government oversight sickened
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more than 677 people in 45 states and caused at least nine deaths, underscores the need for action. i agree with my colleagues that more news to be done to ensure that the food products of american consumers are safe. additionally i support the efforts of this committee as it reviews with to streamline and improve the food inspection system in this country. mr. chairman, i hope that these hearings will continue to allow us the opportunity to reflect on the brink towns in our current system as well as their purpose solutions to safeguard the health and welfare of all americans. madam commissioner, i commend you for your recent appointment of an accord to hearing from you and the next panel of witnesses and with that mr. chairman, i yield back him and thank you. the gentleman from iowa, mr. braley. >> thank you dr. hamburg, i don't think anyone sitting here as anything but good wishes for
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you and the enormous challenges you face and we wish you well and look for to many fruitful and productive conversations with you. as vice chairman of the oversight investigations subcommittee i been involved in hearings we have had a two this point on this important subject and i'm glad to see us finally getting to the point of considering legislation critical to the health and safety of americans. in throughout this we have seen examples of both good and bad actors in the food industry, some companies like massaleit, u.s.a. said is dinner with pride to food safety audits and showed us what can happen when companies do the right thing and reaching out and doing their own investigations. on the other hand, we heard extensively about pca and as unsanitary conditions and about its actions to misrepresent the results of audits that are then which put people at risk and cost people lives. that's why we're here to talk about what we can do to improve the current state of the
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situation. this food safety and has an actual end -- so many limitations and i'm glad and requires increase inspections of facilities the material inspection systems that distinguish between high-risk facilities, low-risk and warehouses, and i also support the provisions to ensure the safety of imported foods which is something i have fought for since introduction of the fresh produce safety act. also there imports may i am proud that this bill has strong whistle-blower protections and i believe that it will help keep america's food supply safer. many might consider some of the provisions in this bill byrne and some however it's important to look at the opportunity cost of dealing to take action to improve food safety and our march 19 oversight hearing i asked david mackie the ceo of kellogg how much the pca salmonella outbreak had cost his company and he replied between 65 and $70 million. the legislation before us today
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might have prevented the outbreak is saved those costs. most important however is what we owe to the families of this country who have been injured or killed by unsafe foods and the desire to take real action to keep our food supply safer. in 2006 and a graduate of duke waller high-school in my district a marathon runner named jill: contracted he coli from a spinach salad g8. after 17 days in the hospital she was released with a percent of her kidney function and she now has to see a doctor twice a year to monitor her kidneys. jill and all other americans should be able to have faith in their food and we are here today to try to restore that they. to thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. the gentleman from maryland, mr. sarbanes. >> thank you mr. chairman and well, dr. hamburg, we are so excited to see you in this position and we look for tier teon


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