Obama Vows to Overhaul Food Safety

President Obama called for a sweeping revamp of the nation's food safety net today, appointing new leadership at the Food and Drug Administration and promising to infuse it with new money.

Obama noted that just 5 percent of food processors are inspected in a given year.

"That is a hazard to public health," Obama said in his weekly address. "It is unacceptable."

The president said that will change under his choice for FDA commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, who he named today.

He charged Hamburg with overseeing a new Food Safety Working Group. Its goal: revamping outdated laws that have changed little since the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

Americans' faith in the nation's food supply has been shaken in the past couple of years by diseased cows and recent outbreaks of tainted spinach, tomatoes and peanut products that made hundreds sick and killed nine people, including 72-year-old Shirley Almer.

"She was let down in the worst possible way by the very government whose responsibility it is to protect its citizens' health and safety," Shirley Almer's son Jeffrey Almer told Congress last month.

The fear of tainted food affects every family. .

"I immediately thought of my 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week," Obama said in his weekly address. "No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch."

Even the food industry appears ready for more oversight.

"People are alarmed when they see these kinds of outbreaks and they want the food industry to do something and we are ready to do something," Robert Brackett of the Grocery Manufacturers Association told ABC News.

Former FDA commissioner David Kessler, now a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, told ABC that marks an industry turnaround -- and for good reason.

"For decades the food industry has opposed the efforts to strengthen the FDA," Kessler said. "But today it is the credibility of their products that have been brought under question. And that's not good for business."

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