Food For Thought

From THINK PROGRESS:

Last year, a bi-partisan majority in Congress approved a new food safety law, the first significant upgrade of the nation’s food safety system since 1938. The bill was so non-controversial that it was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate. But House Republicans have been threatening to defund the new law through the appropriations process.

Following through on that threat, House Republicans approved a bill yesterday that would cut $87 million from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as $35 million from the USDA’s food safety and inspection service. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) explained that the House GOP is okay cutting food safety funding because the food industry “self-polices”[…]

Original DVD cover

Just this week, four people, including two children, were sickened by E. Coli in Washington state. But even without some of the high-profile food recalls of last year — including those of salmonella-contaminated eggs and E. coli-contaminated spinach — there is a significant public health justification for upgrading the nation’s food safety system. Currently, one out of six Americans suffers from a foodborne illness every year, with 128,000 of those resulting in hospitalization. Ultimately, 3,000 people die from foodborne illness each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The new food safety law gives the FDA the ability to force recalls, which it currently is barred from doing, and do more to inspect food coming into the country.

…snip…

Finally, the bill will actually save taxpayers money in the long-run. “The costs of failing to overhaul the food-safety system would ultimately exceed the legislation’s implementation costs,” said Erik Olson, director of food programs at the Pew Health Group. According to Georgetown University’s Produce Safety Project, foodborne illness costs the U.S. $152 billion annually.

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37 Comments

Filed under Congress, humor, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

37 responses to “Food For Thought

  1. sorry so late, kids. got home late, slapped this together while i was cooking and doing laundry. have to go eat dinner now. back soon.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    Well, of course the ninny’s would want to reduce oversight on our nation’s food industry! Protecting public health saves lives. Protecting the food industry saves their bank accounts. You can almost predict the lunacy around the corner coming at us. Do we know of any industry that has shown the inclination and effectiveness in policing themselves? I can’t think of one.

    • i’m sure it has nothing to do with the contributions kingston has gotten from the united egg association.

      you know when an industry polices themselves? when employees feel secure in their jobs, because they have unions to protect them. airline pilots and their union are terrific in making sure that any safety worries they have are aired and addressed.

  3. I wonder if these republicans understand that funding agencies like the FDA and USDA are a bargain. They do a great deal of good for a comparatively small amount of money.

    • they don’t care. they say they care about spending and the deficit, but they’re lying. all they really care about is tanking the country, because they think that will win them the white house in the next election.

  4. Yes, they do such a good job of policing themselves.

    That’s why we’ve needed truth-in-labeling laws so that they couldn’t claim to have reduced calories by simply reducing suggested serving sizes, defined what “low fat” versions of food means, and so on.

    Because these companies are so good at policing themselves.

    Kind of like the banks and investment firms. They did such a great job of policing themselves that they torpedoed the whole world’s economy.

    For some reason, I feel like redoubling the garden … self-sufficiency seems like a better and better goal, doesn’t it?

    • when there is a food-borne illness, the rethugs who voted to pass this bill should have to volunteer to be taste-testers so it can be determined what is causing all the trouble.

  5. John Erickson

    I’m less worried about shenanigans around labeling and more concerned with antibiotic-resistant E. coli, currently floating around Europe, finding its’ way here. Yes, knowing what is and isn’t truly low-fat is important, but the current Euro-bug kills much faster, and the European authorities STILL aren’t sure where the little buggers came from. I’d like to think our FDA could figure that out – well, at least until these idiots cut their funding!
    And I am TRULY thankful you were late tonight, Nonnie. I have to stand firmly behind the “YUCK!” vote – preferably, far enough behind to avoid the “splash zone”! 😀

    • i agree that number one on the hit parade should be detection of bacteria and other icky stuff that makes people sick. however, labeling is very important. diabetics have to know how many carbohydrates a food has, and a lot of older people with heart problems need to closely monitor their sodium intake. then there are people with severe allergies. just a trace of seafood or peanuts could kill someone.

      i apologize for the yuckiness of tonight’s poster, john, but photoshop has its limitations, and no matter what i tried, i couldn’t get kingston to look any better. 😉

      • John Erickson

        Sorry, I wasn’t suggesting an “either/or” mentality. I have quite a bit invested in proper labeling – allergies to mushrooms and seafood, and triglycerides (part of the whole cholesterol thing) out the roof. If anything, with the growing number of severe allergies (mine are just extremely uncomfortable, not fatal) as well as situations such as the European E. coli issue, we need to expand what the FDA does, not cut it.
        Besides, we need to get them more money so they stop shrinking the typeface every year. Dang things are getting nigh onto unreadable. What happened to the good old days, a few decades ago, when a label was clearly legible? (And the lenses in my glasses weren’t thicker than my car’s windshield!) 😉

      • “i couldn’t get kingston to look any better. ”

        HA!

  6. elizabeth3hersh

    What?!? We need more regulation…not less. Interestingly, when terrorists finally infiltrate the food chain (and they will), the fed will then go into overdrive whilst the terrorists move on to a new M.O. To be fair, I would venture to make a ‘professional guess’ that the bulk of food poisoning is due to substandard hygienic food practices in the home which unfortunately is rampant. If I’m not mistaken, the stats are a little higher at 1 in 3 (scary isn’t it?). Most cases go unreported. Sorry to hear about the defunding.

    • we can’t control what people do in their own homes as far as cooking (other than warn them that things must be cooked properly) or force them to leave the food that contains mayo in the fridge, but we can and should force food suppliers to keep their facilities clean, to check for bacteria and anything else that might make people sick, and not to lie to consumers.

  7. Ewwwwwwwwww, that poster is so nasty! Success! It’s the table Republicans want Americans to sit at.

  8. In a nasal monotone waitress voice- “Would you like E Coli with that”?

    Reminds me of this bumper sticker

    Eat tainted meat
    Drink dirty water
    Breathe polluted air
    Care about no one
    VOTE REPUBLICAN

    You know, generally speaking, that seems to be the gist of it.
    Anything for sale, if some profit making industry can line Congresspeople’s pockets with money, then there is no bottom line.

    • that reminds me of 2 things, fran. first, i was driving today, and i saw my first ‘recall rick scott’ bumpersticker. a car cut me off, but i forgave him because of the sticker. second is that i forgot to post this earlier. it’s very cool.

      • At least some folks in FL are waking up to the fact Rick Scott is a nightmare, so I can see why you would forgive the happy bumper sticker wielding crazy driver.
        If it said I heart rick scott, you might have had to rear end him!
        Great vid you posted here– there is another one floating around that echos the same theme… the middle class are underpaid.

        Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said he could explain the problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds

        • If this were Facebook, I’d click “Like” for both of the preceding comments and “Share” to post the videos. Speaking of Facebook, both of those videos have been passed around the Coffee Party pages there. Any of you on Facebook, please search for “Join the Coffee Party Movement” and click “Like.” This concludes this public service announcement. 🙂

        • thanks fran. that video was posted along with the other one over at the big orange, but after watching the first one, i had to go do something, and i forgot to watch the second one. robert reich is great. if obama had people working for him who could articulate the problem and the solution as clearly as reich does, it would be to his advantage.

  9. Looks like we are going to go through another Sinclair Lewis thing soon. And those moans from the people sickened by contaiminated food? That’s the sound of freedom! Now all we need to do is start stamping out little tin badges for the rats. We could finally start marketing rat tarts…”It ain’t got much rat in it”.

    • i’m pretty sure projectile vomiting and diarrhea fall under those inalienable rights in the constitution. of course, it’s best to eat strawberries, potatoes, and blueberries so that you can puke and poop in red, white, and blue. that would make you a real patriot!

  10. Looking at the poster, we’re a mere nano seconds away from becoming a third world nation.

  11. jean-philippe

    Great idea. I gives hope to obese people that they may die from something else than heart attack or diabetes.

    • maybe it’s best to stop inspecting baby formula first. after all, the younger people die, the less we’ll have to spend on health care for them later on.

  12. Excellent work, as always. In fact, it’s so good that I’ve decided to collect your environmentally themed posters and post small versions with links to the entries they’re from at Crazy Eddie’s Motie News (link in my user name). My readers need a good laugh. Besides, it’s depressing being all doom all the time!

    And, yes, I am in a self-promoting mood. I hope you don’t mind!

    • self-promote away, neon vincent! you know that you have carte blanche as far as use of the posters go. silly for them to just sit around collecting dust if someone can use them.

  13. ya know…. it would have been one thing…. if the Republicans would offer reforms to current systems.. instead of just base deconstruction. I think a lot of our systems can be reformed, be made more cost effective….. but they are bent on destroying them… and so far, I hear little about cutting military, defense spending.

    • that’s the thing, jimm. they don’t want things to work better. they want government to be seen as a totally inefficient and corrupt system so that they can slash it until there’s almost nothing left. that’s what makes their corporate sponsors happy.

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