Would You Like E-Coli on That Burger, Mr. President?

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The consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch has launched an ad campaign attacking Republican budget cuts to food safety and water protection. The House GOP budget slashes $88 million from the USDA’s meat safety inspections and $241 million from the food safety budget of the Food and Drug Administration, as I previously reported. Food & Water Watch’s cartoon-style ad shows House Speaker John Boehner offering President Obama a hamburger tainted with E. Coli, rat hair, ground glass, spoiled lettuce and tomatoes. When Obama refuses, Boehner takes a big bite out of the burger:

The ad will run in Boehner’s Ohio congressional district and serve as part of Food & Water Watch’s “public safety alert” about the GOP’s proposed cuts. “At least 14 Americans died and many thousands became ill from tainted spinach, peppers, peanut butter and eggs in recent years,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a press statement on Wednesday. “Now, Washington is seeking to slash the budget for our food and water protections, which will put more people at risk.”

The group also points out that the House has proposed slashing nearly $2 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s funds for water infrastructure—money critical to keeping drinking water clean and sewage-free. The group adds that funds for the program are also “drastically reduced” under Obama’s own 2012 budget, and the group calls on the president to step up his own efforts as well. “President Obama should not let House Republicans gut these protections, and should step up to make sure the budget bolsters our ability to provide Americans with a safe supply of food and water,” Hauter said. 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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