"The Food and Drug Administration proposed sweeping new rules on Friday that would require food importers like Walmart and Cargill to make sure that their foreign growers and processors were following American food safety standards to prevent contamination in an increasingly globalized food supply."More info
Senior Director, Food Portfolio , The Pew Charitable Trusts
To reach this expert, please contact:Linda Paris
Erik D. Olson is the senior director of Pew's food portfolio. He oversees work aimed at improving food safety, strengthening safety and nutrition standards for foods served in the nation’s schools, and reviewing the adequacy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s programs regulating chemicals added to food. In all, he has more than 25 years of experience in consumer, public health, and environmental policy and advocacy.
Until November 2008, Erik was deputy staff director and general counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. During his tenure at the Senate, he worked on health threats from toxic chemicals -- playing a key role in major legislation -- and staffed hearings on global warming, clean water, children’s environmental health, clean air, and environmental justice, among other issues. He also helped to negotiate the key provisions enacted in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the green buildings and green schools provisions of the Energy Independent Security Act of 2007.
Prior to his work with the Senate, Olson spent 15 years at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where he held various positions, including advocacy center director, public health program director, and senior attorney. At NRDC, he worked extensively on the Food Quality Protection Act, toxic chemicals, pesticides, drinking water, hazardous waste, and many other environmental and health issues. He also served as counsel for the National Wildlife Federation’s environmental quality program and as an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel where he worked on hazardous waste and water issues.
Olson graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif legal honor society and served as an editor of the environmental law journal. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College of Columbia University, with an independent major in environmental biology and policy that he created.
"Although one-sixth of America's food is imported, including 50% of the fresh fruit and 20% of the fresh vegetables, the Food and Drug Administration inspects only 2% of imports. That began to change Friday when the agency issued long-awaited rules that require imported food to meet the same safety standards as food produced in the United States."More info
"Republicans muscled a pared-back agriculture bill through the House on Thursday, stripping out the food stamp program to satisfy recalcitrant conservatives but losing what little Democratic support the bill had when it failed last month. It was the first time food stamps had not been a part of the farm bill since 1973."More info
The report ranks states according to their total costs related to foodborne illness and cost per case for an individual, which is $1,850 on average nationwide. The ten states with the highest costs per case are: Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.More info