WASHINGTON (WBBM) — U.S. Senate Majority Whip Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says now that he has a food safety law, he needs congressional cash to fund it.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, Durbin said eight people die daily from food-borne illnesses. He is looking for that to end, with passage of a bill that increases Food and Drug Administration inspection of food producers, and FDA power over contaminated products.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody Reports
“They will have the authority for the first time in America so that we can take dangerous products off the shelf; mandatory recalls,” Durbin said.
Durbin started the fight for food safety modernization after learning of the death of Alex Donley, 6, from a hamburger tainted with E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria.
Alex died in 1993, four days after eating the tainted hamburger. His mother, Nancy Donley, told the New York Times that portions of the boy’s brain were liquefied from the pathogen, and the only organs that were in any condition to donate were his corneas.
As few as 10 microbes of E. coli 0157:H7 can kill a small child, while a billion can fit on the head of a pin, the New York Times reported in 1995. By comparison, a million microbes of salmonella are required even to make someone sick.
Durbin says the bill will cost $1.4 billion over ten years and the next battle is to secure congressional funding.