Standing in opposition to the over-regulation of small organic farms, small raw milk clubs, and yearlong sting operations on Amish farms is warranted, but to accuse the government of over-regulating giant U.S. corporate owned food producers amounts to pure lunacy.
Yet this is what Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann suggests, claiming regulations are overburdening food producers. “We want to have safety,” she said. “But we also want to have common sense.”
It’s food producers like ConAgra, Cargill, and JBS Swift, that are responsible for virtually all of the tens of thousands of recalls each year from food contaminated with E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and botulism, in everything from fruit to processed foods, peanuts, eggs, beef, chicken and turkey.
Bachmann says less regulation would allow employers to spend money on expansion rather than federal compliance. “That’s part of the problem, the overkill,” says Bachmann. “And when they make it complicated, they make it expensive and so then you can no longer stay in business.”
We appreciate Bachmann’s disdain for big government, but deregulation on Wall Street was at the heart of the current financial crises. [See repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act].
And the fact is, despite the existence of federal regulating agencies, virtually NO regulation of food producers takes place — none of the federal agencies responsible for regulating our food supply are doing their jobs, and simply allow mega food producers to regulate themselves.
The GOVT’s own Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warns the safety of the nation’s food supply is endangered by the FDA, openly accusing the agency of jeopardizing the health and safety of all Americans.
In its report, HHS charged the FDA with not only failing to conduct comprehensive reviews of companies’ food recalls, but also of not supervising how companies disposed of their recalled products.
The report revealed how food companies simply ignore making any effort to recall contaminated products, and noted how one company didn’t initiate a recall of a Listeria-contaminated mussel meat from New Zealand until three months after the Food and Drug Administration learned about the the problem.
And on those occasions when regulators actually do their job and insist on a recall from food producers, the food producers simply file a law suit against the federal agency that insisted on a recall.
Last month, Del Monte filed suit against the FDA for insisting on a March 2011 recall of Del Monte cantaloupes suspected of being contaminated with a toxic form of Salmonella Panama.
Del Monte has also sued the State of Oregon, accusing the state’s Senior Epidemiologist, Dr. William Keene, of played a major role in initiating the recall.
The listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes has now killed at least four people in New Mexico, and sickened at least 35 people in 10 states.
The USDA will soon begin expanding tests for E. coli in meat from one strain to seven, enabling them to speed up recalls and help identify more foodborne illnesses. Yet Bachmann and the meat industry oppose more testing for E. coli strains, and would rather jeopardize human lives because of the additional costs.
September 22nd, 2011