Keep The Government Away From My Tomatoes

Posted: Apr 23, 2010 4:45 PM
Many legislators think the FDA doesn’t have enough firepower, after samonella outbreaks and food-born illness have scared the populace. But is more government regulation really the answer? The Food Safety Modernization Act, which is expected to be considered sometime between finance reform and immigration, stands to beef up those regulations and impose even harsher inspection standards.  

It’s true that the U.S. has food with less chemicals, fewer preservatives, and more natural additives than other countries with no oversight. But such regulation cripples farmers – especially small farmers – from competing with foreign growers, and adds an element of government involvement that simply doesn’t need to be there. Want produce that has no “unnatural” chemicals added? Buy organic. Are you worried about how your roasted chicken was slaughtered? Buy kosher.

Here’s a recent snippet from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Forget the overseas food-processing plants that have been responsible for several recent food safety scares such as contaminated seafood and powdered milk. The FDA doesn't even have enough inspectors to visit U.S. processing plants.
Nor does it have the authority to order a recall when tainted food comes to light. It can't even track dangerous food from the plant where it was processed to the stores where it was sold.
Here’s what happens to food producers who distribute tainted goods: they go out of business. That’s incentive enough to produce clean, healthy food, and the government knows it. But in order to be seen as “protecting” the public, and in order to keep the big, nationalized farm conglomerates campaign cash coming, politicians need to continue to install burdensome regulations that keeps them ahead of their competitors.

Here’s Jill Richardson:
Making jam safely is a rather simple process. Follow the recipe exactly, make sure your jam is acidic enough by adding lemon juice if needed, and boil your jam for long enough to kill anything that may be in it. Do we really need a tiny Mom ‘n Pop jam business to routinely send jam samples to a lab for analysis to make sure their process is working?
No, but major food producers relish in the thought of driving these little guys out of business. A better way to go is leaving food safety up to the consumer, and keeping Uncle Sam as far away as possible.

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