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Leigh Ann Winnard's picture

A year in which Americans have seen a number of contaminated food recalls can close out on a high note if the U.S. Senate passes landmark food-safety legislation tonight.

As it stands, the nation’s food-safety system is broken. The legislation, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), would update federal oversight  so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  has first-time authority to mandate a recall of contaminated food and require more frequent inspections of food processing facilities. With more stringent food-safety standards, fewer children will have to suffer from foodborne illnesses and their complications, like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) – a potentially deadly condition my son Matthew developed when he was 8 years old, as a result of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Thankfully, he recovered and is now a vibrant teenager.

Not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for my son’s recovery. Our experience inspired us to fight hard to pass this legislation. And it’s why I’ve returned here – to – to ask again for the support of this wonderful community.

Because the Senate will likely vote on the bill later this evening or first thing tomorrow morning, I hope each of you reading this blog will call or send an email to your senators. If it doesn’t pass soon, the bill will die and many experts, pundits and even politicians agree that starting over with a new, strong bill next year, with all the other competing issues, is not likely.

Ultimately, foodborne illness has touched too many lives, including my own. Congress has a rare opportunity to fix the faulty food safety system and see real results. Lawmakers should act now in favor of passing S. 510 before time runs out.

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