Congressman Cuellar directs CDC, FDA to increase monitoring of public health issues at high-volume ports of entry
Language will keep border residents safe and produce report on coordination between CDC and state and local health departments
Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced that he successfully included language in the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill to improve public health at high-volume ports of entry. The language directs the Food and Drug Administration to work with local governments at these ports of entry to reduce the risk of food-borne illness and better equip local officials to deal with food-borne threats.
Congressman Cuellar also requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide a report in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request on how CDC coordinates its various programs with state and local public health departments to measure, track, control, and manage cross-border infectious disease in high-volume port cities.
“I thank the committee, particularly Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Ranking Member Sam Farr of California, for their commitment to these public health initiatives along the U.S.-Mexico border,” Congressman Cuellar said. “Because of the active ports of entry in my district, there is an opportunity for an enormous amount of food entry inspection by the FDA and this collaboration could greatly reduce the potential of harmful food-borne illnesses to spread into the United States. This language also assists local health department staff in addressing both highly infectious diseases that already occur along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the threat of other new and emerging highly infectious diseases.
“With the recent outbreak of the Zika virus and the potential that virus has shown in spreading across our highly globalized world, we must ensure our federal, state, and local health officials are utilizing all tools and resources at their disposal effectively to ensure our citizens remain safe from these and other infectious diseases that have the ability to transcend borders.”
The language Congressman Cuellar secured ensures that the CDC and FDA are engaged with communities along the border, where the importation of large volumes of food can cause additional burdens to local health officials. Ultimately, this language will provide an extra layer of security to the community and reduce the risk of food-borne illness and infectious disease.
Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Previously, he served as a Texas State Representative and Texas Secretary of State.