Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Food Supply

In May of 2006, I wrote an article on the FDA, and their inability to protect us in everything from our medicines to our meats.

In March of 2007, I wrote an article on the dangers in our food supply.

This is becoming an annual event. Like a zombie in a low-grade horror flick, this issue just won't die.

Now, of course, we have the largest meat recall in history and I still see a lack of panic in the press! And despite the war, the elections, and the economy, our food supply should truly be the #1 concern in the minds of every American as it affects each and every one of us like nothing else does; from the very young to the very old.

Some of the press are eagerly writing that there is no discernible illness detected as a result of this SNAFU. Well of course there isn't. YET.

If these cows were afflicted with mad cow disease, and people injested the meat, then it can take years for them to evince the symptons of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease* (the human variant of mad cow disease). And there is no escaping Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Once the symptoms begin, it's a rapid death sentence.

Once again, we see how our foods are imperilled. Once again, will we choose to ignore it?

* There are two types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD): The classic (which appears more commonly among the elderly) and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) which appears in younger people. It is more likely that vCJD would be acquired through eating the meat of a mad cow. However, don't be gladdened by this: The symptoms are the same.


The Lazy Iguana said...

SHHHH! Deregulation is GOOD! We do not need no FDA, because we can trust the food and drug industry to regulate themselves! They would never ever think of putting profits ahead of public safety! Never! Why, they are way too ethical for that! The industry can regulate itself better than the FDA can, so lets just do away with that agency. Save a few bucks so that the top 1% can get another tax cut, which they will then invest and create more jobs!!

The greatest President to ever live, Ronald Wilson Reagan, said so! It must be true!

Except for the fact that the trickle down theory does not work. The money is invested and jobs are created, in China. Nobody said the 1% have to invest in America. And why should they? Returns on investment in China are much higher. So why not put your money where it gets the best return? So the tax cuts are shipped overseas, along with all the jobs. They can not build factories fast enough in China - but when was the last time a factory was built here? 1970? 1960?

And industry can not regulate itself. They will put short term profit above public health. They DO put short term profit above public health. They run formulas and determine that if they can make more selling tainted beef than they lose in a recall - sell that beef! Why not. If someone gets sick and dies they were probably lacking insurance anyway. Who cares about them? Loser could not even pay for the cost of some of those drugs with the side effects nobody knows about. Let em eat E. Coli. And die.

Are you sure you are really a Reagan Republican????

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, you are absolutely right. Although Reagan is my favorite Republican president, he had his mistakes and flaws like everyone else and this would be one of them. And do you remember the 'ketchup is a vegetable' statement he made about school lunches?! ;o)

Funny how Reagan was so against communism, but the theory of communism is based on the mistaken belief that mankind is inherintly good, despite thousands of years showing us otherwise.

Communism doesn't work because mankind's basic instinct is far from good and is very self-serving. That's the same reason 'trickle down' economics can't work either.

Any true born-again Christian who's a Republican must see that and reject such silly economic beliefs - and saying otherwise just won't make it so.

So, I'm closest to being a Reagan Republican. But again - I'm too practical to go with either party.

One thing that everyone forgets is that often BOTH parties make great points.

Universal Health Care is an example of something that should be government regulated, despite all the screams from rabid conservative talk show hosts. Why? It goes back to human nature: If there's a profit to be made somehow, money will always be the priority - people be damned.

I don't want Big Brother, but what do we have NOW? Is the system really any better?

Uncle Joe said...

who u gonna vote for?

M@ said...

Hey, don't blame the New York Times. They're busy electing Osama.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I think you have a good point although the fact that there is a mnassive recall in meat indicates that some of what you ask is working.

I would like to hear specific suggestions from anybody about improvements in both FDA and Agricultural inspection. There is no question that there is room for improvement, what improvement are we asking for.

Regarding other things unrelated to your post, the fact is that trickle-down economics DID work for the most part, and in my small corner of Georgia I can identify at leat five new factories having been built within fifty miles of my semi-rural home in the past six years.

Saur♥Kraut said...

3 Score & 10, but how WELL has trickle down economics worked overall? You'll always find examples. But overall, companies have little to no loyalty to their workers unless they see them as a valuable asset. And American workers are hardly viewed as valuable assets anymore when China has labor that is cheaper and (let's face it) cheaper usually comes #1 in an employee's evaluation. What employer doesn't want to save a buck? So, if you have new factories, it's only because the employer is profiting from them being located THERE and not elsewhere.

Heaven knows how to improve the FDA but I'm sure Consumer Reports has some great suggestions. Primarily this is one area of government that DOES need more funding because they're severely understaffed and have poor resources. Since only 2% of our meat is inspected, we have a lonnnng ways to go to improve this.

m@, yeah, it looks that way, doesn't it? :P I don't like ANY of our candidates, but Obama scares me the most. The more I hear him talk, the more I hear "TAXES, TAXES, TAXES."

Uncle Joe, for once in my life, I cannot make up my mind. They're all such duds. Do we let the neocons run away with the party and vote for McCain? Will Huckabee still have a chance and if he does, is he really Presidential material? I like Hillary, but she has made it clear that she despises Christians and since I'm one of those, I worry about it a little. Then again, Obama is closely affiliated with a church that approves of Louis Ferrakhan and pronounces that their priority is Africa.

They all make me ill.

daveawayfromhome said...

Somebody's going to have to raise taxes. The Bush mantra has been always to cut taxes. When times are good, cut taxes. When times are bad, cut taxes. You simply cannot operate a government that way, unless you want to get rid of it.
The problem is not in increasing taxes, it's in making sure that the tax load is "highest" on those who profit most from society. Who's made the most gains in the last decade? (Or hell, in the last three decades?) Those are the folks who need to see a tax increase, and I dont see what's unfair about that.
Of course, the best way to avoid raising taxes would be to launch an aggressive (and punitive) campaign against graft, corruption and waste of tax dollars; you know, things like no-bid, cost-plus contracts to cronies of our public "servants".
As for Obama raising taxes, the one who worries me the most is Hillary, and her plan to force us all to subsidize the health insurance agency. I have no problem with paying taxes if I get something out of it, but to have a middle-man skimming a profit out pisses me off something fierce. The goal of a gov't run health plan would be healthcare, the goal of an insurance-run health plan is profit.

Bryan said...

Saur, don’t forget about GM (genetically modified) foods and their potential to cause a famine of truly Biblical proportions.

Below is an excerpt from an article I’m posting a link to here:

"Today, consumers eat these foods daily without knowing the potential health risks. In 2003, Jeffrey Smith explained them in his book titled "Seeds of Deception." He revealed that efforts to inform the public have been quashed, reliable science has been buried, and consider what happened to two distinguished scientists - UC Berkeley's Ignacio Chapela and former Scotland Rowett Research Institute researcher and world's leading lectins and plant genetic modification expert, Arpad Pusztai. They were vilified, hounded, and threatened for their research, and in the case of Pusztai, fired from his job for doing it.

He believed in the promise of GM foods, was commissioned to study them, and conducted the first ever independent one on them anywhere. Like other researchers since, he was shocked by his findings. Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more vulnerable to infection and disease compared to other rats fed non-GMO potatoes. It got worse. Thymus and spleen damage showed up; enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines; and there were cases of liver atrophy as well as significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells that could be a sign of greater future risk of cancer. Equally alarming, results showed up after 10 days of testing, and they persisted after 110 days that's the human equivalent of 10 years."

Saur♥Kraut said...

Bryan, WOW. I believe it. But what's extra scary is that (correct me if I'm wrong)... companies don't have to label genetically modified foods.

Daveawayfromhome, sadly, you're completely correct. I hate taxes as much as the next person but it only makes sense. Of course cutting government waste and paring spending is the BEST option (I know you agree).

daveawayfromhome said...

I agree, but not at the expense of public services. Get rid of subsides to for-profit enterprises, absolutely! How about getting rid of tax breaks to large, profitable monopolies and cartels? Or payments to massive agri-businesses that were sold to the People as helping "family" farmers (yeah, stockholders of Agri-businesses do have families, but they aint farmers). You get my drift, I'll assume.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daveawayfromhome, YES! And cut out all the pork that's being taken out of our pockets and put into silly projects. I've written about this before - but some of these are simple no-brainers. We REALLY don't have a pressing national need to finance research on shrimp sizes, etc. The Citizens Against Government Waste" has their usual list for each year.

In 2007, we wasted money on $1,190,000,000 for full funding of 20 F-22A fighter jets despite the fact that The GAO said, “DOD has not demonstrated the need or value for making further investments in the F-22A program.”

We also spent (and I'm listing a small portion of the entire list):

$4,500,000 for chitosan bandage component which utilizes natural compounds found in shrimp heads (Hawaii)

$3,200,000 for HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), which has received $109.1 million in pork since 1995. (Alaska)

$9,500,000 for the Extended ColdWeather Clothing System (Maryland)

$1.35 million for the “Obesity in the Military Research Program.”

$8,000,000 added by the Senate for “special assistance to local education agencies.” This is a part of the educational arm of the Department of Defense also known as DOD Dependents Education.

$5,500,000 added by the House for the Gallo Center. According to its website, “The Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center (EGCRC) at the University of California, San Francisco (USCF) was established in 1980 to study basic neuroscience and the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain.” There is no mention of any defense-related research.

$3,335,000 added by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, home of the “Hard Rockers” football team.

$1,000,000 secured by now-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fund the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center.