If You Don’t Eat, This Isn’t a Problem

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Here we go.

The E. coli conservatives are at it again.

The ‘too much governmental interference and regulation’ manta is being shouted again.

This time the GOP-led House of Representatives were in a committee hearing last month to hear testimony about funding the nation’s food safety system.

The House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky) said, apparently without irony, that the budget request for food safety “will be tough to swallow”.

Really?

It’s also true that tainted, mis-handled food is ‘tough to swallow’.

The New York Times reports about the E. coli conservatives’ approach:

After thousands of people were sickened by tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach, Congress passed a sweeping food safety law in 2010 that gave the Food and Drug Administration new powers to prevent additional outbreaks.

But lawmakers have not provided enough money for the mission.

The Congressional Budget Office said the F.D.A. would need a total of $580 million from 2011 to 2015 to carry out the changes required by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

So far, Congress has appropriated less than half of that amount, even as the agency is moving to issue crucial rules under the law this year.

We all need to smarten up about the politicians who are supposedly looking after our food system.

Congress has seen fit to fund half the amount needed to begin to make food safety something resembling a priority.

Half.

So, raise your hand if you’re in the lucky half of the population who will eat safe food, because Representative Rogers and his ilk just can’t envision everyone’s food being safe.

Food safety is just too expensive.

Never mind the costs that go along with increased health care when hundreds (thousands?) of consumers get sick from tainted food caused by greatly reduced inspections, little to no oversight–you know, E. coli conservatism.

We all need to smarten up about the politicians who are supposedly looking after our food system.

Let’s all remember this sort of governance the next time we cast our votes.

Photo credit: Craig McCord