Is it really 2006?

A century after the publication of The Jungle, Americans are still being poisoned by our food. Why? We know more about the dangers of food-borne illnesses than any generation before us and still we are not doing enough to prevent people from dying at dinner. Perhaps a bold statement, but it is buttressed by this sentence from the ninth paragraph of the article that is linked to in the title of this post:

"Natural Selection announced this week that it would start a program to test samples of spinach for E. coli. The procedures will mirror some of those put in place by the meat industry after four people died from eating hamburgers at Jack in the Box in 1993."

What? Does that sentence really say that the company is making a decision to do tests - food industry standard tests - that have been available for a decade and a half at least? Why does this paragraph not say that the Food and Drug Administration is about to fine Natural Selection, LLC for not properly following the food safety regulations? Why is this decision left up to the company as to whether they run these tests or not? It is always in the "economic interests" of the company to sell a good product that does not cause harm (although with the farmer and the packager and the brand all upstream of the grocery store that finally sells the product to the consumer - how the hell can even the most knowledgeable consumer even know what farms to avoid, what packagers to avoid, what brands to avoid or what stores to avoid?), so clearly "economic interests are not strong enough to prevent a company from selling a product that is deadly to consumers.

This is the exact situation for why the FDA was created in the first place, so at a minimum, the following step needs to happen here:

  1. If the FDA does not have the authority to compel this level of testing across every area of our nations food supply, then that authority needs to be granted.
Whenever you here someone question the need for government regulation, please recall this incident: people died here, people were sickened here, people were rushed to hospitals and farmers who were not responsible saw their products tainted with the brush of contamination. All of this happened due to industry lobbyists who paid off congressmen and congresswomen to not empower the regulators with the will of the people: save us from food-borne viruses!

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