Concord, NH - Reps. Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta voted against critical funding for USDA's food safety and inspection programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from tainted food every year and 3,000 die. [Roll Call 459]
"At a time when millions of Americans are being sickened from tainted food, Bass and Guinta voted to cut the inspections that protect our families," said Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "From his first congressional hire, Bass made clear that the safety of New Hampshire families would be second to profits of foreign companies importing tainted food."
Before Bass was even sworn into office, he announced that his new chief of staff would be John Billings of the Food Marketing Institute. Billings, a self described 'capitol hill veteran,' had spent the past several years fighting against the implementation of vital food safety provisions under the FDA.
Bass and Guinta's vote prevented the implementation of the bi-partisan Food Safety Modernization Act, of which former New Hampshire Senate Judd Gregg was a co-sponsor. The act which was the first major change to food safety laws since 1938, was an important increase in the level of scrutiny used to inspect domestic and imported food.
Last October, Guinta told voters that he was in favor of abolishing food safety inspection. When asked if he thought the FDA should be monitoring food safety, he told a small Tea Party gathering, "my answer is no." [YouTube]
"Protecting New Hampshire families from tainted deadly foods shouldn't be a partisan issue," continued Kirstein. "Sadly Bass and Guinta have made protecting big oil companies more important than the safety of New Hampshire citizens."