The California Assembly Agriculture Committee defeated Senate Bill 202, and did not vote on Senate Bills 200 and 201, all bills introduced by California Senator Dean Florez. The bills were introduced in response to last year’s E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks traced to contaminated spinach and lettuce grown in California.
During the hearing, Assembly Member Nicole Parra blasted Florez: "I know you’re going to go out to the press and probably say that if someone else dies, it’s on our back. Well, don’t blame the members of this committee, senator. Blame me if you have an issue, but that is not the message that we want to get out of this committee."
Florez shot back, criticizing Parra and the committee for failing to vote on two of the bills.
"I think this is one of those cowardly acts that will just kind of haunt people as they go on," he told reporters after the hearing. "And people will ask the question, ‘Why didn’t you ever vote on food safety?’ At least say yes or no."