Sen. Amy Klobuchar says recent food contamination outbreaks that have sickened thousands of people are more evidence the nation's food safety system needs an overhaul.
Executives from Minnesota companies Supervalu and Hormel Foods stood behind Klobuchar on Sunday as she called for passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
Citing examples of problems with jalapeno peppers, peanut butter and eggs, Klobuchar called for increased powers for the U.S. Food and Drug Safety Administration.
"I think we can do a lot better with our food safety system," she said. "We know this is only the beginning, but right now there is a glaring problem with the FDA and a glaring problem with resources and their lack of authority to do recalls and get company records."
She said the bill would give the FDA more power to inspect and recall food products.
"Government has to respond to protect consumers of this country and also to protect businesses because if people are scared to buy certain products they're not going to go shopping," Klobuchar said. "And that's just not right."
Klobuchar is the lead sponsor of the bill that has long been stalled in the Senate.
It includes provisions that would allow federal, state and local officials to respond rapidly to outbreaks of food borne illness. It also would increase FDA inspections at food facilities and mandate third-party lab testing.