Monday, July 21, 2008

Have a Salad, Live Dangerously

Think back to when you didn't consider eating a salad a high risk behavior. It's come to that under what Historian Rick Perlstein, author of "Nixonland," calls it "E. coli conservatism" -- government shrinks and shrinks until people get sick.
The excerpts below comes from an article in the LA Times yesterday. Read the whole article if you really want to get mad about the state of our food safety.

What's clear, though, is that imports of agricultural products have increased by 78% since 1973, but inspections of those products have decreased by 78% over the same period, according to the Coalition for a Stronger FDA, whose membership includes former chiefs of the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the FDA is a part.That's a problem because the FDA itself says pesticide violations or infectious disease occur three times more often in imported foods than in domestic foods. In 1991, there were 1.5 inspections for each $1 million worth of imported agriculture commodities; in 2006 there were only 0.4.
The agency's decline started when Reagan was president. FDA food inspections plummeted from 29,355 in 1980 to 7,668 in 1989. They stayed flat during Bill Clinton's years in the White House, then jumped past 11,000 after 9/11, amid fears that the nation's food was vulnerable to terrorist attack. Food inspections have now, however, fallen to levels below that number.
[bolding mine]

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