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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Food Safety and Some Political Mumbo Jumbo

I wish I followed politics more. Maybe before I begin following I should wish to care more first. Don't get me wrong, when there are specific issues that affect things I am really passionate about, I jump on the computer and do my research to form an opinion. But I have a feeling no one would put me in the category of well-rounded in the political arena. My facebook says my affiliation is, "currently looking for a worthy party," and while this statement has some truth, I'm not actively looking either. I should make this a resolution for 2011. I'll keep it in my top 5.

There are some political issues I like to read up on. The current U.S. food safety bill (Food Safety Modernization Act) would be one of them. It won't officially be signed until January of the new year, but even when it is signed I'm not sure it will change much. It is estimated that it will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $1.4 billion in the first five years of installment. Unless you have been in a hole for the past few years of economic turmoil, I don't think we have that money just sitting around.

When I do choose to research some of the hot topics in political changes, I need the information to be pretty cut and dry. I found some good information for the recent food bill on the FDA's website. While most of the information is good, I won't speak for one of the opening paragraphs...

"The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gives FDA a mandate to pursue a system that is based on science and addresses hazards from farm to table, putting greater emphasis on preventing food-borne illness. The reasoning is simple: The better the system handles producing, processing, transporting, and preparing foods, the safer our food supply will be."

Thanks for that. It probably cost a lot of money and some poor intern's whole work day to get that paragraph orchestrated and I'm pretty sure that sums up the FDA's purpose in the first place, before the FSMA. No new information here.

There are some interesting provisions in the new bill and they are listed on the FDA website given above. I guess what urged me to write this post is that we (meaning the United States) have a very safe food supply. I don't think that we have the extra money laying around for the costs associated with the legislation and I think it's just pushing more on to the FDA. I think it's truly unfair to place majority responsibility for food safety into one agency.

Food safety is the responsibility of a complex web of people. That's why it is important that we all care about the safety of the food put on our tables. It takes the producers who work hard to insure a safe product is raised, to the processors who are regulated to do things correctly in their facilities, to the preparers of meals whether it be Bobby Flay or my mom. A system that is just complex enough to ensure that we keep eating safe food.

For what my two cents are worth,


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