The Utter Failure of the Food & Drug Administration to Protect our Meat

You hear about it all the time – how greed and industry have replaced honesty and fairness in America.

One such example of this is the utter failure of government agencies to adequately protect our food. Let’s focus on all the ways that the Food & Drug Administration in particular has been responsible for the entrance of contaminated animal products into the mouths of the American public. Three main ways that that the FDA fails to protect our meat are that it 1) doesn’t require companies to register their ingredients, 2) has no power to recall products, and 3) doesn’t test or approve many products before selling them. These three stipulations have had a huge impact on that safety, or lack of it, thereof, of our meat and dairy. Assurances by the FDA since 1979 have been underhanded and misleading.

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A 1986 report, unanimously approved by the House Committee on Government Operations, concluded that “the FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility – has repeatedly put what it perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligation to protect consumers – jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers meat, milk, and poultry.” For example, it took the FDA until 1998 to finally legalize radiation pasteurization of red meat, a process that has been proven to effectively kill bacteria. In 1993, 4 children were killed by hamburger meat that was contaminated with E. coli. 700 other people became sick, some of them obtaining permanent kidney and brain damage.

In 1997, the largest meat recall in the history of the U.S., a return of 25 million pounds of ground beef, took place when 16 people became sick with E. coli from hamburgers. E.

coli is estimated to kill 250 people a year and infect 20,000 others. Other contaminated foods are estimated to annually kill 9,000 people and cause 6.5 to 33 million cases of illness. These regulatory disasters began with the age of ideology that was brought to America by regulation-opposed conservatives, who essentially made food protection agencies ineffective by denying them resources. When mad cow disease was officially detected in U.S.

-produced cattle in 2003, the Bush administration ridiculously denied a Kansas-based beef producer permission to test his cows. This was because other beef producers feared that consumers would demand that they too test their cows. You’d think that the Bush administration would have applauded this beginning of self-regulation, but why would they make such a logical decision when it might risk the prosperity of a major industry? How American of them. Even foreign policy took a hit. In South Korea in 2008, there were mass demonstrations of protestors against the prime minister’s decision to continue allowing imports of U.S.

beef. The department did eventually expand its testing, but not after consumer outrage and hundreds of filed reports. The FDA has also failed to protect the public from the great dangerous of hormonal meats, which pose serious and imminent risks to humans. Since 1975, the prevalence of breast cancer has increased by 23%, and prostate and testes cancer by 60% (along with other reproductive cancers), due to increased concentrations of these unnatural, implanted steroids. The FDA has approved the use of bovine growth hormone, along with antibiotics, genetically-modified foods, thousands of inconclusively-tested drugs, and cloning.

One of the most recent FDA controversies was the recall of 200 million contaminated eggs in August 2010, which caused about 250 people to be sickened with salmonella. These eggs had been distributed by the nationwide brands Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Booms, Sunshine, Hallandale, Traficant, Farm Fresh, Shore land, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp. The failures of the FDA are unsettling, irresponsible and disturbing. How can we trust the FDA to protect our food adequately when no oppositional institution is overseeing it? It’s the equivalent of trusting kids to try their hardest on all their homework with no teachers ever checking it. I would call for more regulatory powers over the FDA and other government “health” agencies that are not clearly doing their job.