INDEPENDENCE, Missouri - Paul Schwarz, Jr., of Independence, lost his father to the listeria cantaloupe outbreak a year ago. Since that time, he's grown frustrated with the lack of effort from Washington to implement preventative measures to America's food safety policy.
He's focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act, which has been tied up for 10 months. Last week, Pew Charitable Trusts sent him to the nation's capital on behalf of his late father, Paul Schwarz Sr., and the other victims of the deadly outbreak.
"I was very frustrated that Congress didn't grant us a hearing [on the outbreak]. Every chance I get to tell Dad's story, I will. It affected our family immensely and 146 other families -- they have stories, too," Schwarz Jr. told the Food Safety News .
While in Washington, Schwarz, Jr. says he stopped by the offices of Missouri lawmakers Sen. Roy Blunt (R), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D). He said the staff he met were very receptive but gave no explanation for the White House hold up. He then asked them to send letters to President Obama, specifically the White House Office of Management and Budget, asking for some quick implementation of rules stated in the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Those rules would mandate produce safety standards and preventative controls for food manufacturers, an idea that has raised some speculation that they could kill jobs. Speculators note those rules might take a back seat until after the election.
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The Independence School District welcomed home another class of students from the MindStream Academy in South Carolina, and celebrated their combined weight loss of 1,129 pounds.