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President Obama's Weekly Address, March 14, 2009, Transcript and Video Link

President Obama's Weekly Address, March 14, 2009, Transcript and Video Link

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Obama's Weekly Address for March 14, 2009. Video Link and Full Transcript.
Obama's Weekly Address for March 14, 2009. Video Link and Full Transcript.

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Published by: icebergslim on Mar 14, 2009
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05/10/2014

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WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Barack ObamaAnnounces Key FDA Appointments and TougherFood Safety Measures
 
WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obamaannounced the appointments of Dr. Margaret Hamburg asCommissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as the Principal Deputy Commissioner, as wellas the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group. This FoodSafety Working Group will be chaired by the Secretaries of Healthand Human Services and the Department of Agriculture and it willcoordinate with other agencies and senior officials to advise thePresident on improving coordination throughout the government,examining and upgrading food safety laws, and enforcing lawsthat will keep the American people safe.In addition, the President also announced two other measures toprotect the American people. The Department of Agriculture willclose a loophole to prevent diseased cows from entering the foodsupply. And, the government will invest in the FDA tosubstantially increase the number of food inspectors andmodernize food safety labs. 
President Obama announced his appointments of thefollowing individuals today:Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg
Dr. Hamburg is a nationally and internationally recognized leaderin public health and medicine, and an authority on global health,public health systems, infectious disease, bioterrorism andemergency preparedness. She served as the Nuclear ThreatInitiative's founding Vice President for the Biological Program.Before joining NTI, she was the Assistant Secretary for Planningand Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Prior to this, she served for six years as the Commissioner of Health for the City of New York and as the Assistant Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the
 
National Institutes of Health.
 Joshua "Josh" Sharfstein
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein is Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. He also serves as chair of the board of four affiliatednonprofit agencies. He has been recognized as a national leaderfor his efforts to protect children from unsafe jewelry and over-the-counter medication, and ensuring Americans with disabilitieshave access to prescription drugs. He is a member of the Boardon Population Health and Public Health Practice of the Institute of Medicine. The full audio of the address isHERE. The video can be viewedonline atwww.whitehouse.gov.
 
Remarks of President Barack ObamaWeekly AddressSaturday, March 14, 2009Washington, DC
I’ve often said that I don’t believe government has the answer toevery problem or that it can do all things for all people. We are anation built on the strength of individual initiative. But there arecertain things that we can’t do on our own. There are certainthings only a government can do. And one of those things isensuring that the foods we eat, and the medicines we take, aresafe and don’t cause us harm. That is the mission of our Food andDrug Administration and it is a mission shared by our Departmentof Agriculture, and a variety of other agencies and offices at justabout every level of government. The men and women who inspect our foods and test the safety of our medicines are chemists and physicians, veterinarians andpharmacists. It is because of the work they do each and every daythat the United States is one of the safest places in the world tobuy groceries at a supermarket or pills at a drugstore. Unlikecitizens of so many other countries, Americans can trust thatthere is a strong system in place to ensure that the medications
 
we give our children will help them get better, not make themsick; and that a family dinner won’t end in a trip to the doctor’soffice.But in recent years, we’ve seen a number of problems with thefood making its way to our kitchen tables. In 2006, it wascontaminated spinach. In 2008, it was salmonella in peppers andpossibly tomatoes. And just this year, bad peanut products led tohundreds of illnesses and cost nine people their lives – a painfulreminder of how tragic the consequences can be when foodproducers act irresponsibly and government is unable to do its job. Worse, these incidents reflect a troubling trend that’s seenthe average number of outbreaks from contaminated produce andother foods grow to nearly 350 a year – up from 100 a year in theearly 1990s.Part of the reason is that many of the laws and regulationsgoverning food safety in America have not been updated sincethey were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt. It’s also becauseour system of inspection and enforcement is spread out so widelyamong so many people that it’s difficult for different parts of ourgovernment to share information, work together, and solveproblems. And it’s also because the FDA has been underfundedand understaffed in recent years, leaving the agency with theresources to inspect just 7,000 of our 150,000 food processingplants and warehouses each year. That means roughly 95% of them go uninspected. That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it willchange under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg, whom I amappointing today as Commissioner of the Food and DrugAdministration. From her research on infectious disease at theNational Institutes of Health to her work on public health at theDepartment of Health and Human Services to her leadership onbiodefense at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Dr. Hamburg brings tothis vital position not only a reputation of integrity but a record of achievement in making Americans safer and more secure. Dr.Hamburg was one of the youngest people ever elected to theNational Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. And her two

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