Big Agra has gotten us into an interesting (and sickening) predicament. In light of a solid year of squeamish food poisoning issues, there are clearly some chinks in the armor of food safety. But is it really the government’s role to step in and regulate food safety further? Unfortunately, regulation tends to harm the good guys – raw almonds today, organic spinach yesterday, dairy for far too long now – and effectively underwrite large corporate agricultural interests. And yet. And yet. Currently, testing outfits that monitor food safety so our beef, lettuce, eggs and chicken are ostensibly edible are paid for by the very agricultural interests they test. In other words, it’s a recipe for corruption. While labs may be impartial, the results they gather when testing at-risk foods (such as meat and imported goods) are given over to the company and it’s on the company to report anything to the FDA. That is, the labs don’t have a way to send results directly to a presumably – and I realize the generosity of this idea – impartial guardian of public health. If one lab doesn’t “find” the “right” results, it’s fairly easy for the food company to find another, more affable laboratory. Still, I’m not sure that introducing increased FDA regulation or oversight is the solution here. But since I can’t even keep up with all the burgers that have been recalled since the summer, I feel compelled to ask you:
What do we do?
Osi Flickr Photo (CC)