BISHOP ADVOCATES FOR SOUTH GEORGIA TOMATO FARMERS
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) attended a budget hearing hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Related Agencies. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the Food and Drug Administration’s Commissioner for Food and Drugs, testified before the subcommittee on President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request for the FDA.
During the hearing, Congressman Bishop asked Commissioner Hamburg what the FDA is doing to assist tomato farmers in South Georgia adversely affected by a 2008 FDA tomato salmonella recall that was later found to be incorrect.
“Dr. Hamburg, the tomato farmers in South Georgia continue to tell me that they are still reeling from the FDA’s tomato salmonella recall debacle from a couple years ago,” said Congressman Bishop.
“As you’ll recall, in Georgia alone, tomato growers lost over $14 million from tomatoes grown, and in some cases harvested, that could not be sold since consumers were told to ‘stop buying tomatoes’ on the recommendation of FDA and the CDC. It is conservatively estimated growers nationwide lost over $125 million from this false indictment from our own federal government,” Congressman Bishop pointed out.
“More importantly, many of the tomato producers in my district have yet to recover.”
“The Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law last December, authorizes payments to producers harmed by ‘future’ government decisions which ultimately prove to be incorrect or ill-founded. Can we find a way to provide some assistance to our tomato producers, given the precedent set under this legislation?”
Commissioner Hamburg told Congressman Bishop and the Subcommittee that the FDA would look into the matter to see if there are any possible remedies or modes of assistance that can be offered to the farmers adversely impacted.