By Dean L. Jones, CPM
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration furloughed 60% of its 1,602 food investigators due to the partial government shutdown. At a differently run governmental unit, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which is actively on duty inspecting meat, poultry, and egg products. Even though the FSIS still issued a health safety alert earlier this week (10/08/13) after roughly 300 people fell sick in 18 states from illnesses linked to chicken products produced at several of Foster Farms facilities in California.
This poultry borne bacteria occurred under the watchful eye of the full USDA workforce duly sworn to protect its citizenry from contaminated and misbranded food. This means that preventing harmful bacteria from entering food sources is an inevitable byproduct of processing large quantities of food sources. In view of that, what reasonable Congressional representative would employ actions that would force the closing of a food safety and health services work unit, particularly in the mist of implementing the supposedly essential Affordable Care Act. Apparently, the insurance premium collections to pay for fixing illnesses is more essential than working at preventing causes of illness. The manner in which things are unfolding makes one wonder about what is meant by ‘it is going to get worse before it gets better,’ because current healthcare issues are nothing short of dysfunctional, at best.
The risk from food borne diseases seems to always avert the very elected officials assigned to catch and manage these things. Undoubtedly, elected officials operate from very cushy jobs and believe
it necessary to literally play unprecedented political games at the expense of the citizenry’s wellbeing. Surely, if this were a situation affecting a private industry labor shutdown, the respective management members would rapidly devise a remedy to avert the problem, whether if it meant instituting robots or hiring scabs as workers, delivery of core services would never be an issue toward making money from the safe movement of goods and services.
Individually, it is necessary to stay alert surrounding the things we buy to eat, because it is mindboggling to see the number of USDA reported recalled items each day. Especially for allergen suffers who need a heads-up to help avoid things like hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, anaphylaxis, watery eyes, cramps, etc.. Take for instance just in the past two days Stauffer Biscuit Company recalled Market Pantry White Fudge Coated Animal Cookies from not listing the milk or egg ingredients. Asia Cash & Carry recalled PRAN Spice Powder Turmeric due to packages containing high levels of lead. Turkey Hill Dairy, Conestoga, PA, recalled containers of Fudge Ripple Premium Ice Cream and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup resulting from possible metal shavings in the mix. Orange County Produce recalled its fresh red and green Bell Peppers for potential Salmonella contamination. (Source: www.fda.gov).
Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes derived from foods & beverages.