American Public Health Association
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For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

President to Sign Historic Public Health Legislation Protecting U.S. Families from Foodborne Illness

Washington, D.C., January 3, 2010 – President Obama is expected to sign the food safety bill into law tomorrow that will finally begin to address the dangerous gaps in our nation’s woefully outdated food safety system. The bipartisan FDA Food Modernization Act (S. 510) for the first time grants the Food and Drug Administration greater regulatory authority to inspect food processing plants and recall contaminated food. Passage of food safety modernization legislation has long been a priority for APHA.

“The public health community celebrates this tremendous step forward in protecting U.S. families from foodborne illnesses, which affect millions of Americans every year,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “We thank the president and Congress for making food safety a public health priority in this country.”

The long overdue food safety bill aims to improve the capacity and coordination of federal, state and local government agencies, which are at the frontlines of preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks. It also will make significant strides to protect the health of all U.S. families by establishing a comprehensive plan to improve the safety of our nation’s food. Additionally, the measure would offer grants to enhance education, training and technical assistance to help agencies comply with the new requirements.

“We owe this victory to the countless public health advocates across the country and the food safety champions in Congress who all demonstrated unwavering determination to enact this bill,” said Benjamin.

This important law will require strong government oversight and dedicated funding that will provide the FDA the authority and resources it needs to fully implement all of the critical provisions aimed at strengthening the nation’s food system.

APHA is a member of the Make Our Food Safe coalition, an alliance of public health organizations, consumer organizations and groups representing the families of victims of foodborne illness.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.