retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Salon reports that yesterday as GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump was giving a speech to the Economic Club of New York in which he talked about budget proposals that focus on cutting taxes and eliminating regulations as a way of generating new economic growth, the campaign posted an online statement that proposed "slashing the power of the Food and Drug Administration."

The release from the Trump campaign criticized “the FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food," and the rules that "govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures and even what animals may roam which fields and when." The campaign also lambasted the FDA for "greatly increased inspections of food ‘facilities,’ and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill."

In a follow-up story, The Hill reports that this press release was removed from the Trump campaign website, and was replaced by another statement that did not mention the FDA.

Crain's New York Business, in its coverage, writes that "the Obama administration has beefed up food-safety inspections on several fronts since Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2010. It has subjected poultry facilities to more rigorous checks for salmonella and required meat and chicken processors to hold on to inventory until microbial and chemical tests are complete. Earlier this year, the FDA began requiring domestic and foreign food facilities to create a "defense plan" and identify areas most vulnerable to intentional contamination. Businesses with less than $10 million in revenue are exempt from the rule.

"In 1999, there were 76 million instances of food-related illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2010, those figures had declined to 48 million illnesses, 130,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths."
KC's View:
A lot of the attention over the past few days has focused on issues like the candidates' health and the current President's birthplace. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the approach each of the presidential candidates would take to things like food safety is a far more important issue that actually affects people's lives and well-being.

It is important to remember that food safety has largely been a bipartisan issue. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed with bipartisan support, and it actually is legislation that was developed in the beginning by the George W. Bush administration, and finally passed by the Obama administration.

Are there inefficiencies in food safety rules and regulations? Sure. No argument. But are US citizens safer because of increased regulation and vigilance? I think the answer is yes.

As for the nutritional context of dog food ... I'm not sure, but this may have something to do with the fact that dogs were getting sick when they ate dog food with ingredients imported from China that contained melamine. Maybe it is just me, but I sort of think that knowing what's in pet food is a good idea ... and if it takes a government regulation to assure that this stuff is listed on the label, I'm okay with it.