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« Beef Recall and Presidential Politics | Main | Power to the People »

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Presidential Candidates Ask, "Where’s the Beef?"

In the wake of the nation’s largest beef recall in history, food safety and animal welfare have become part of presidential campaign season. I wrote yesterday that Senator Hillary Clinton issued a statement calling for better safeguards in our food inspection system. CNN has a video of Clinton at a campaign stop in De Pere, Wisconsin—the second largest dairy state—talking about the recall of beef from sick and injured dairy cows. 

Senator Barack Obama also released a statement on the recall, offering his comments on the importance of protecting the health and safety of schoolchildren and protecting animals from cruelty. Here's what he said:

“Although the Department of Agriculture has now recalled the tainted beef, an estimated 37 million pounds has gone to school lunch programs, and unfortunately, officials believe that most of the meat has already been consumed by schoolchildren.  This incident demonstrates yet again the inadequacy of the food recall process.  Far too often, tainted food is not recalled until too late.

“When I am President, it will not be business as usual when it comes to food safety.  I will provide additional resources to hire more federal food inspectors.  I will also call on the Department of Agriculture to examine whether federal food safety laws need to be strengthened, in particular to provide greater protections against tainted food being used in the National School Lunch Program. 

“As the parent of two young daughters, there are few issues more important to me than ensuring the safety of the food that our children consume.  I commend the Humane Society of the United States for bringing this important issue to the public attention and believe that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health.”

We’re grateful to Senators Clinton and Obama for calling attention to this national scandal, and promising to do better—for people and for animals—if they are elected.

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