“And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.” Ex. 16:15
The interesting thing about this Bible story is that the Jews knew more about the food that they were eating in the desert than many Americans do about the food that we feed our families. Even though they had never seen it before, the Jews knew that it was inspected and approved by God. This is the same God that sent the plagues that got them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea so that they could escape from Pharaoh’s cavalry, and squirted water out of a rock. They felt as though they could trust Him. They were also pretty hungry.
Our government is responsible for monitoring the quality of our food. This is the same government that invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence, still has not rebuilt our gulf coast from hurricane damage two years ago, has spied on us without our permission, and replaced the largest federal budget surplus with the largest deficit in the history of this country. You surprised that our food doesn’t seem to be as safe as it used to be?
Here are some facts about food safety that you might find interesting.
There are 15 different agencies of our government responsible for various parts of our food supply. Those agencies are subject to 35 different laws which give them regulatory powers.
About 10% of our food supply is imported. That’s growing at about 15% a year. It comes from over 130 different countries.
The primary agency responsible for inspecting imported food is the FDA. The FDA last year was able to inspect only .7% of imported food, down from 1.1% the year before.
Here’s what the Bush administration has been doing about this for the past seven years.
In fact, it’s worse than that. Five years ago Congress passed and the President signed a law requiring meat and other products to be labeled with their country of origin. If they couldn’t inspect it, at least you could choose whether or not to buy it.
The Agriculture Department has never put the law into practice because the Republican majority in Congress with the President’s support blocked its implementation every year since. They were not thinking about you. They were responding to the grocery store and meat packing lobbies.
Labeling for sea food, however, was implemented because of the strong sponsorship of Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, looking out for the fishing industry in his state.
Now that the President has lost his majority and can’t stop the labeling bill, what has he done?
What he should have done is the obvious. Streamline the inspection process and turn it all over to the FDA. Then fund the FDA so that it can do its job. Finally, extend the fish labeling laws which appear to working fine to the rest of the food supply.
Instead, he created a commission to study the matter. This commission is little more than another delaying tactic to mollify big political contributors and China, while keeping the American people eating mystery meat. Clearly George is no Moses.