SACRAMENTO, Calif. and WASHINGTON, D.C. /California Newswire/ — U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) recently reintroduced a bill to protect American families from foodborne illnesses. H.R. 3540, the Farm to Table Safety Act, would expand food safety education initiatives to train farmworkers on how to prevent bacterial contamination of food, how to identify sources of foodborne contaminants and other means of decreasing food contamination.

U.S. Rep. Tony CardenasThe legislation was supported by the Center for Food Safety, as well as well-known Los Angeles Chef Lala. Washington, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined Cárdenas as an original co-sponsor.

“Too many Americans have died because of contamination of the very food that is supposed to sustain life,” said Cárdenas. “We have an opportunity to protect families, literally from the ground up, against these dangers. Training our farmworkers to keep an eye out for contaminants and dangerous food-processing situations is a no-brainer. When they are well-trained, farmworkers can prevent the bacterial outbreaks that cause illness and death. I hope this legislation will come up for a vote as soon as possible, so we can start protecting American families.”

In 2012, frozen berries picked in Oregon caused 118 cases of hepatitis A in eight states. Listerosis in cantaloupe picked in Colorado killed 33 people. In 2014, five people were sickened and two died following an outbreak of Listeria in bean sprouts picked in Illinois.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, foodborne illness costs this country more than $15 billion every year.

This legislation is a standalone version of an amendment of the “farm bill” offered by Cárdenas in 2013.

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