[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – United States Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today, after the President’s Import Working Group announced its 14-point plan to improve import safety.
“For years, we in Washington have heard the familiar call to ‘get government off my back.’ However, that call has changed. The call I hear most often now is ‘I wish the government had my back once in a while.’”
“I’m happy the White House has decided to join those of us in Congress who, for years, have been advocating many of the policies proposed today. The recommendations in this report, if acted upon, will help remove many of the hurdles that have prevented meaningful reform of our food and product safety systems.”
“Providing the FDA with mandatory recall authority is a critical tool that most modern food safety agencies around the world have utilized for years. Congress needs to make sure that this new authority is used as back-up to a strong voluntary recall system that relies on immediate reporting by third party firms.”
“With over 2 trillion dollars of goods coming from overseas, now more than ever we need real a real front line defense to deal with tainted and defective goods. The report’s recommendation to station inspectors abroad will provide us with another level of security to keep dangerous products from ever reaching our shores."
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a small agency, teetering on the verge of irrelevancy because of years of neglect, mismanagement and outdated authority. The Senate has a bill ready to go to the floor that will bring this agency out of the shadows, making it the robust, consumer watchdog agency it ought to have been all along.”
Durbin has been a leader in the Senate on reforming our food and consumer safety agencies. After a series of toy recalls earlier this year, Durbin introduced two bills which would reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission and certify the safety of children’s products. Both bills were included in the CPSC Reform Act passed by the Commerce Committee last week. It is expected to be passed by the Senate before the end of the year.
Today, Durbin plans to offer an amendment to the Farm Bill which will require Congress to reform the food safety functions of the federal government. The bill would force the government to reform and modernize our food safety laws, bringing them in line with the realities and technology of the 21st century.