Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More bad food

I can't lie. I am obsessed with food. I loves me some food. I just had a terrific hamburger, all loaded up with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, mustard, and ketchup on a wheat bun, and it was fabulous. I am all about the food, which probably explains why I have failed to lose weight since starting this kick-my-ass workout class.

That said, this kind of shit makes me really mad. Basically, there is proposed legislation that would remove all state food safety laws not currently in the FDA guidelines. The coalition arguing for this law states that "Food cannot be safe in one state and unsafe in another. " In reality, it seems that grocery store chains and food manufacturers, who are members of this coalition, are trying to reduce costs by setting the lowest common denominator across the board, so they don't have to meet higher standards in California than in Louisiana.

My arguments (and others') against this bill are:
A) States have to at least live up to the FDA standard currently. States have always been able to add onto federal laws if they felt the need for stricter control. If the fed doesn't like it, the Supreme Court strikes it down. There's no need to waste Congress' time with legislation that no one is really lobbying for, except the food industry, who has everything to gain by making food safety laws less stringent. B) What is the point of forcing all states to the same food standard? We don't all eat the same kind of food, we don't all have the same kinds of weather, etc., but the fed is going to tell me that they know better than I do what safety measures I can enact. C) After the Vioxx mess, the carbon monoxide in the beef, and the amazing disappearing over the counter morning-after pill debate, I totally trust the FDA to have my best interests at heart.

You know, I used to believe in capitalism more. I used to think companies truly acted in the consumer's best interest, or the consumer would vote with his dollar and take his business elsewhere. I'm starting to find examples of the opposite, however, mostly in situations where the consumer doesn't have all the info. If you don't know which meat packer sold Kroger your steak, how do you know whether safety measures were met? Or if there's CO in your meat? There are some free-market solutions to these problems: buy organic or "natural" meat products, which are produced to more stringent standards. However, big companies like Horizon have been pushing for a less demanding definition of certain organic practices, essentially making the word "organic" on their products meaningless. (see here).

I think I'm hopping off my soapbox now. Lo siento.


Barbie said...

at least wallmart will be carrying the morning after pill nowadays!

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