What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Exclude Corporations That Illegally Sell Downed Animal Meat to Humans from the Legal Protections Contained in the Underlying Bill. (2004 house Roll Call 51)
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H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Exclude Corporations That Illegally Sell Downed Animal Meat to Humans from the Legal Protections Contained in the Underlying Bill.
house Roll Call 51     Mar 10, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibit meat producers from processing and selling for human consumption meat that comes from "downed animals" (animals that cannot stand or walk). Progressives note, however, that funding cuts in recent years have severely hindered the USDA's ability to enforce its prohibition against the sale of downed animal meat to humans. As a result, Progressives argue, downed animals-many of which cannot walk or stand because they are too diseased to do so-continue to contaminate the nation's food supply and have been linked to outbreaks of E. coli, mad cow disease, salmonella, and other deadly food-borne pathogens. During debate on legislation to shield corporations such as McDonald's and Burger King from weight-related lawsuits in both state and federal courts, Representative Ackerman (D-NY) proposed an amendment which would have changed the bill's definition of a "manufacturer" and "seller" to insure that those definitions do not apply to meat slaughtering, packing, canning, or rendering operations which provide meat to humans from downed animals. Progressives voted in favor of Ackerman's proposal because, in their view, companies that are responsible for providing downed meat to humans should be held fully accountable for any negative health consequences caused by the consumption of downed animal meat. The meat contained in some fast food hamburgers, Progressives noted, have been found to contain a non-negligible amount of downed animal meat. Conservatives voted against Ackerman's proposal and argued that the U.S. meat supply is already the safest in the world. Passage of Ackerman's amendment, they argued, would encourage frivolous lawsuits, cost fast food chains millions of dollars in legal fees as a result, and ultimately harm the estimated 12 million workers employed in the fast food industry. On a vote of 141-276, the Ackerman amendment was defeated and corporations involved in the sale of downed animal meat to humans were not denied the legal protections contained in the underlying legislation.

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