Hillary Clinton is not satisfied with the recent handling of the melamine situation and writes to Dr. Eschenbach to expand the efforts as more food products and items may still exist on store shelves. Again, I go back to what I have mentioned before, all food and drug products need to be labeled with their manufacturing origin, as the company may be home based in the US, individual products may only reflect the corporate office in the US under current day branding practices through what is known as blind shipments, in other words the place of origin may state somewhere in the US, when in fact the product was made outside of the US. BD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 26, 2008 – WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand efforts to reach out to communities impacted by food potentially contaminated with the deadly chemical melamine. Senator Clinton pointed out that several deaths and tens of thousands of illnesses in children have been linked to consumption of melamine-contaminated milk products in China, and that several products identified by the FDA as possibly contaminated are widely available in Asian specialty supermarkets in New York and other states. In a letter sent today to FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Senator Clinton praised the FDA’s work in working with retailers and state and local health departments to ensure that contaminated products do not reach store shelves, but urged the agency to also increase their outreach with impacted communities to make them aware of the potential dangers associated with these foods.
“The work the FDA has done to bring retailers and state and local health departments into the fold so that melamine contaminated products don’t reach the shelves is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more to help those communities already impacted,” said Senator Clinton. “I strongly urge the FDA to reach out to the communities where melamine contaminated foods are typically widely available so we can ensure people are aware of the potential hazards and prevent anybody else from suffering because of these dangerous products.”
Senator Clinton’s letter to FDA Commissioner von Eschenbach is below.
October 22, 2008
The Honorable Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857
Dear Dr. von Eschenbach:
I am writing to ask for an update on your recent health information advisories, which you have released over the past month, regarding products that may possibly be contaminated with melamine, a chemical linked to kidney disorders. The beverages, candy, and cookies that are the subject of these advisories are widely available in Asian specialty supermarkets in New York and other states. I understand that you are working with state and local health departments to reach out to retailers, but I would also urge you to increase your outreach with impacted communities to make them aware of the potential dangers associated with these foods.
As you know, several deaths and tens of thousands of illnesses in children have been linked to consumption of melamine-contaminated milk products in China. This tragedy followed the melamine contamination of pet food purchased by American consumers. Both of these episodes are evidence of the need to ensure continued vigilance regarding the safety of imported food and ingredients.
I have supported increasing both the authority and the resources of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to ensure that we can have timely, reliable inspections of factories both domestically and abroad. However, it will take time to recruit and train a more robust cadre of inspectors for your agency, and will not be completed in time to address the pressing needs that have arisen due to this latest melamine scandal.
I am pleased to see that you have issued an import alert to your agency’s field offices, which will help to prevent these products from reaching store shelves, but more needs to be done. It is essential that you broaden your efforts beyond outreach to state and local health departments and work with communities directly – especially those that are frequent consumers of these imported milk products – and let them know how to keep themselves safe.
I would appreciate an update on the ways in which you are working with Asian communities in New York and across the nation in enabling them to understand the FDA’s recommendations regarding these potentially tainted products, and how to make safe consumer decisions when shopping for themselves and their families.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
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