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Daily Newscasts

Peanut Poisoning Victims Still Waiting to be Served Food Safety Assurances

January 19, 2010

Concord, NH - One year ago this week, many people threw out cookies, ice cream, crackers and jars of peanut butter because of a salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products. Nine people died from the bacterial infection, and more than 700 became ill, including several in New Hampshire. Promises were made for quick action to require regular food plant inspections and faster recalls - but no new laws are on the books yet.

A group of survivors of that outbreak is sending a letter to Congress asking that food safety not be forgotten. Elizabeth McWilliams signed the letter. Her two-year-old daughter was a victim, and McWilliams has been campaigning ever since for tougher food safety laws.

"I preach this to everybody. People really need to be accountable for this. Do not allow them to continue to ship out contaminated food that can kill Americans."

If tougher laws had been on the books before the outbreak, the Make Our Food Safe Coalition says, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) likely would have discovered a history of unsanitary conditions at the plant where the salmonella originated.

Pew Food Safety Campaign project director Sandra Eskin says no one should have to worry about whether the food they eat will make them sick.

"We don't want it to take another outbreak - like the one we saw last year with peanut products - to finally get the job done."

Sen. Judd Gregg is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of a food safety bill awaiting a vote. The House version was passed last summer. The House food safety bill is HR 2749; Senate version is S 510.

More information about the Make Our Food Safe Coalition is online at

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH