An editorial in The Nation says the drive to protect corporate profits in the guise of conservatism is killing our cats and dogs — and people. The sweeping editorial, written by Itchmo reader and Seattle’s KIRO Radio host David Goldstein, blames not the lack of resources, but the lack of will power to stop the flood of dangerous goods for cats, dogs — and people — pouring over the border.
Goldstein also points out FDA’s backtracking over the statement that there is “no acceptable level” of melamine or cyanuric acid human food. After learning that rejected pet food was fed to chickens and pigs, the FDA changed their tune — saying some amounts are just fine, while asking their own staff to take protective measures when inspecting possibly tainted goods. We live blogged the FDA’s statements.
Food safety has been a problem for a long time and continues to become a larger part of our lives, says Goldstein. In fact, he says 10 times the number of people have died from food-borne illnesses compared to 9/11 in the days since.
Goldstein connects the closure of many FDA labs, weak regulatory powers and the fight against terrorism in his editorial.
From The Nation:
[Had] this “food grade” wheat gluten made its way to the US bakery and breakfast cereal manufacturers who use 530 million pounds annually, it could have created the largest and deadliest mass food poisoning in American history. Indeed, given the often silent, progressive nature of renal failure, and our regulatory and public health agencies’ woeful inability to prevent, uncover, track or remedy such incidents, we cannot be certain that it already hasn’t.
On stepping down from office in 2004, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson warned, “I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.”
How do we explain yet another known terrorist threat gone unheeded?
The explanation is simple. For decades our government has been dominated by a conservative ideology that claims to despise big government, abhor regulation and adhere to an unswerving faith in the infinite wisdom of the market. Rick Perlstein dubs this philosophy “E. Coli Conservatism,” and in practice it is not only flawed but corrupt: a calculated conservative project intended to gut our regulatory systems in the interest of sheer corporate greed. We eat adulterated food not because we cannot adequately regulate the industry but because to do so would eat into the profits of the corporations our regulators serve.
The full article will be published at the end of the month.
David Goldstein writes regularly at Horsesass.org.