June 17, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—The following is a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union:
“Yesterday, Republicans in the House of Representatives slashed millions of dollars from the budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety programs. This bill, which not one Democrat voted for, put’s the safety of American families and food supply at risk by slashing funding for food inspections and safety.
“Americans have faced a veritable deluge of food safety problems over the last decade in products as varied as peanuts, spinach and tomatoes. The Obama administration led the charge to ensure for adequate inspection and regulation to keep our dinner table safe, but House Republicans are undoing that hard work by gutting the funding for a safer food supply. Around 48,000,000 Americans get sick from their food every year, yet House Republicans don’t see food safety as an issue worth funding.
“We work across the food industry – in meat, poultry, food processing, canning and produce – but we’re especially concerned that the new bill may cause furloughs for meat and poultry inspectors. These inspectors play a vital role in the functioning of one of America’s largest export industries. Our workers in the processing and packing industries depend on their involvement to insure a safe product for their customers. Lax inspections could also have a negative effect on American food exports at a time when our economy is already struggling. We need to fully fund the food safety bill and ensure a food supply that Americans can count on for the future.”