Obama Promises Food-Safety Overhaul

Cites 'public health hazard,' names FDA picks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 14, 2009 8:14 AM CDT
Obama announced new food-safety measures.   (YouTube)
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(Newser) – President Obama announced a food-safety overhaul in his weekly radio address today, describing a new panel that will review the issue and naming his choices for FDA heads, the New York Times reports. “In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your president, but as a parent,” said Obama, calling the government's inspection of just 5% of food-processing plants "a hazard to the public health."

Obama confirmed that he's named former New York City health commissioner Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner and Baltimore health commissioner Joshua Sharfstein as head deputy. He also announced the formation of the Food Safety Working Group, which will recommend changes to existing laws and regulations. Some 76 million people in the US get sick yearly from contaminated food; about 5,000 die, say public health experts.