Currently, state and local health departments cannot inform the public about which retail establishments, restaurants, or schools receive tainted meat or poultry. Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, wants to change that.
Williams said he wants to pass legislation that would require distributors to tell the state where tainted meat is distributed. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who joined Williams at the Legislative Office Building Monday, said doing something at the state level is important because at the moment, there’s “no mandatory recall at the federal level.” She said the USDA has caved to the industry in this regard.
More recently, the USDA refused to release the names of retail outlets and schools that received some of the 143 million pounds of beef involved in the most recent recall, she said.
DeLauro said Monday that USDA Secretary Ed Schafer has yet to respond to her Feb. 20 letter urging him to adopt an emergency rule to require Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company to list the names of retail establishments and schools that received the tainted beef. Approximately 37 million pounds of the total 143 million pounds of tainted beef was delivered to schools. Click here to read her letter.
“They’re protecting the industry at the expense of public health,” DeLauro said Monday. Click here to read her testimony from last week.
Williams said Connecticut’s legislation would be similar to legislation passed by California in 2007, which allows state officials to release the name of retail consignees to the public. He said currently the disclosure of where the tainted meat may have ended up has been happening in a “piece meal fashion.” He said it’s unacceptable a press release alerting the public to the tainted beef was sent out three weeks after the most recent recall.
Williams said the specifics in this proposal will be introduced as an amendment to an existing piece of legislation.