‘Safest food in the world’ UConn edition

A quintessentially urban lawmaker who admits she knew virtually nothing about agriculture when she was first elected to Congress, Rosa DeLauro has, according to World News Report, become a national voice for food safety and food production reform.

what.is.safe.food.09During her more than two decades in office, DeLauro has castigated federal officials for inaction on contaminated cucumbers and ground chicken, criticized hog inspection rules and aimed her laser critiques at the over-use of antibiotics in beef, poultry and pigs. Her demands for reform include creation of a federal “super agency” to oversee both food production and food safety.

Now, however, some small farmers in Connecticut worry that DeLauro’s push for more and tougher federal controls over agriculture and food may have gone too far, and that the cost of reforms she’s helped pass could push them right out of business — a claim DeLauro flatly denies.

At 73, DeLauro’s voice still vibrates with urgency when she talks about the need to improve food safety. “We’re talking about people’s lives,” she said. “Three thousand people every year die in the U.S. from food-borne illnesses.”

Michael Darre, a professor in the University of Connecticut’s animal sciences department and one of the school’s top poultry experts, believes DeLauro goes too far in her demands for agricultural reform, adding “I don’t agree that we need to have a single super agency.” Darre agrees that improvements should be made in the federal system, but adds: “We have the safest food in the world.”