Is Washington Gambling on Food and Water Safety?
[Originally posted on Care2.com]
If you and your family were hit with tough economic times, what do you think you would do to adjust? If your family is like most, you might reassess your financial priorities, ensuring that you can continue to meet critical needs. Among those needs, you would probably place things associated with health, food and safety toward the top of your list and go out of your way to make sure you could continue to meet needs in this area.
While we should expect the same strategy from our government, it seems that some overzealous budget hackers on Capitol Hill are trying to cut funds that support critical food and water safety protections, which could seriously threaten public health.
Congress has a responsibility to protect consumers, and food and water protections are among the most critical tools in place to do so. Republicans are proposing to cut funding to the USDA and the FDA that would dramatically affect food inspection and food safety programs, including delaying the implementation of the new Food Safety Modernization Act.
It’s a similar story when it comes to our water infrastructure. Members of the House of Representatives are proposing cuts to the EPA’s State Revolving Funds, which are federal funds made available to states for maintenance and improvements to water infrastructure. This would affect both drinking water and wastewater.
If you’re wondering how these cuts might impact your daily lives, you needn’t look any further than the massive food recalls in recent years due to contamination, including items such as spinach, peanut butter, peppers and eggs (over a half billion of them). The proposed budget cuts would make us even less capable of preventing major outbreaks in the food supply.
And the situation with our water systems is dire. Water main breaks — like the ones in Boston and Washington, D.C. — have become more common throughout the country, and it’s already been challenging enough trying to protect our water supply from contamination due to industrial pollution without the added burden of taking away funding to simply maintain things as they are. We have the safest drinking water system in the world and we need to invest in improvements to ensure it stays that way.
In order to drive home our point, we created a funny advocacy ad, starring some familiar characters in the political spectrum. This 60-second ad is part of a major outreach campaign to warn consumers about these dangerous budget cuts. The video will air in Washington D.C. and in House Speaker John Boehner’s district.
Please take action by telling your representatives not to cut food and water protections. Just follow the action below the embedded video. Thanks for watching and helping to protect our food and water!
-Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director