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Help Reintroduce Kevin's Law

Kevin Kowalcyk
Kevin Kowalcyk
December 10, 1998 -
August 11, 2001


First proposed in 2003, Kevin's Law was named in memory of two-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk, who tragically died in 2001 after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

A full six years later, the law first gained major attention from the American public in 2009 when the story was highlighted in the Oscar-nominated film Food Inc.

Kevin's Law would have given the U.S. Department of Agriculture the power to close down plants that produce contaminated meat, authority that the USDA presently does not have power to exercise.

The law specifically calls for the USDA to identify the pathogens that threaten human health (such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes) as well as give the department the authority to close down plants that habitually threaten the public health.

The Center for Foodborne Illness(CFI) is
the legacy of 2-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk.
His sudden death from E.coli inspired his
mother, Barbara Kowalcyk (left), to
establish the organization in 2006.

Sad to say, the bill never became law but "died in committee" and was never brought forth for larger review.

The status of Kevin’s Law, formerly known as the Meat and Poultry Pathogen Reduction and Enforcement Act, no longer exists as stand-alone legislation.

However, n the current Congress, the spirit of Kevin’s Law is contained in several pieces of legislation, all of which focus on FDA’s oversight of food:

  • FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), introduced March 3, 2009.

  • Food Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 875) by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, (D- CT) introduced February 4, 2009. Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749) by Congressman John Dingell, (D-MI) introduced June 8, 2009.

To this day, none of these proposed pieces of legislation have ever made it out of committee.

Publicly endorsing all of these bills is The Center for Foodborne Illness (CFI), an organization that Kevin's grief-stricken mom, Barbara Kowalcyk, helped found in 2006.

Meanwhile, CFI continues to support the re-introduction of Kevin’s Law to enhance USDA’s oversight of meat and poultry products.

What you can do

For more information on what you can do, contact the The Center for Foodborne Illness, or Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P) and urge your local government representatives to support legislation like Kevin's Law to help prevent foodborne illness and fatalities - now and in the future.

The dangers of food-borne illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that E. coli, Salmonella, and several other foodborne hazards cause 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Children like Kevin, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems face a greater risk of severe illness due to contaminated food.

also see in Society --> Lobbyists

More about Kevin's Law and industrial food production around the Web:


Frontline: Supreme Beef vs USDA

Foodborne Illness

Kevin's Law - Wikipedia

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