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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Food Distribution Safety Increases

The pet food recall appears to be spreading and could spillover into the recall of foods for humans.  It was revealed this week that tainted petfood was provided to hogs in California which made it into the food supply for humans.  Separately the FDA is also investigating similar circumstances where tainted foods may have made it into the food supply in Illinois.

The FDA is reacting to problems and does not appear to have the funds to be proactive in this investigation.  The portion of the FDA responsible for investigating foods for recalls at its budget cut over the last four years from 48 million down into the low $30 million range.  That's about $.10 for every person in the United States.  Only, $.10 is paid to ensure that the food you eat is safe.

"We don't have the resources or the capabilities to test every single shipment of every single food item that crosses into our country or into our state borders," said Frank Busta, director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.

Source: Food safety worries mount | Chicago Tribune

With that in mind and with the strengthening power of the Democratic led Congress, it seems likely that the FDA will receive additional funding and additional powers in the years to come.  Meanwhile China has just recently started to allow investigators to book their plane tickets to come to China to investigate the contamination of Melanine in the food supply.  China has never been known for its openness nor its transparency and they've only recently approved the visas to US investigators.  It's not terribly likely that China will prove to be very cooperative in this venture and doubtful that they will assist in getting to the bottom of the situation.

Truthfully they have no reason to assist as the US inspects less than 1% of food that is imported into the country.  Short of a ban on food products from China, which could be possible if this contamination problem continues to spread, it's unlikely that China will take any proactive action themselves.  After all this is the same country that encouraged its own people to begin smoking so that they could raise more money in taxes.  If the help of their own people is such a low priority is no reason to assume that the health of their customers as a high priority either.