Contaminated food outbreaks linked to FDA cutbacks
In this article, entitled "E. coli Conservatives", Rick Perlstein links the recent recalls of contaminated food (spinach, peanut butter, pet food) to reduced FDA inspection regimes that are the result of conservative "slash government" (except those parts of it that enrich us) ideology:
The Associated Press studied the records and found that between 2003 and 2006 the Food and Drug Administration conducted 47 percent fewer safety inspections. FDA field offices have 12 percent fewer employees. Safety tests for food produced in the United States have gone down by three quarters—have almost ground to a halt—in the previous year alone.
As Dr. Phil would say: How's that working out for you?
Not so well, it turns out. It was months later before we learned the eminently preventable reason our peanut butter had been poisoned: a leaky roof and a faulty sprinkler provided the culture for the salmonella bug at the Georgia plant. How did we find that out? Not from the FDA inspection. We had to rely on the company's own investigation. They had a public relations crisis on their hands. They want to return Peter Pan Peanut Butter to shelves in the middle of July. So they undertook their own belated, two-month investigation. The Georgia plant will open in August—with the new roof the FDA never noticed they needed in February.