Voices 07/02/2011

What's the real purpose of the FDA?

The current conditions for growing and processing food are certainly prone to outbreaks of bacteria other health concerns. Whether the new food safety regulations will improve food safety, however, remains to be seen. There are already many regulations in place that would improve food safety that the FDA chooses not to follow. Constitutional law attorney Jonathan Emord has won seven law suits against the FDA, yet the FDA continues to ignore the rules and regulations it is its mandate to uphold.

The food safety regulations contained in the bill include extensive documentation and regulations aimed at small farmers. Local, organic farms account for far fewer incidences of illness than the slaughterhouses with unsanitary conditions, packages of lettuce and processing plants. Rather than improve sanitation at meat processing facilities, however, the FDA approves the use of an ammonia bath – right on the meat – in an effort to kill bacteria. Not only is this method unhealthy, it is ineffective.

The FDA follows its own set of food safety regulations. They won’t allow real food like walnuts or cherries to claim health promoting properties, yet at a party over the holidays I saw a cherry 7-Up bottle that claimed in nice bold print that it had anti-oxidants. Is the FDA really fooling anyone into thinking soda is healthier that the real fruit or a nut?

Part of the reason for the slanted enforcement of food safety regulations in effect today is that many officials and employees of the FDA have connections to Monsanto. President Obama even appointed an ex-Monsanto executive, Michael Taylor, to lead the food safety mandate. Monsanto is not a food producer. It is a chemical company. Monsanto’s interest in food safety stems from its development of genetically modified seed and its attempt to control the food supply.

The question remains as to the real purpose of the FDA. Is it to protect the safety of food and drugs that Americans ingest on a daily basis? Or is it to promote the agenda of the large food producers? The fact that the food safety bill passed the house and senate so easily and that President Obama appoints ex-Monsanto employees to key positions causes one to wonder who the new food safety regulations are really meant to serve.

di Graziano Alderighi