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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

It is Time to Fight For Food Safety Now

Dear Food Safety Community,

Legislation that would help FDA manage its food safety responsibilities is headed to the floor of the House. The bill has a HACCP-type system as its center piece. However, a small group, led by the Weston A. Price Foundation and other advocates of raw milk, are leading a very effective internet campaign to oppose the legislation.

So — is it time to tell Congress what you know about HACCP and food safety? To make yourself heard? I know there are lots of issues around modernizing food safety. CSPI has had to give up the hope for a unified food safety agency in the near future in order to support this legislation. But you have to ask — is it worth the wait for a perfect bill, or do we need these controls in place now?

Anyway, we wanted to bring this issue and the campaign against the legislation to the attention of the listserve. As food safety professionals, it IS time to weigh in now.

An easy way to do this is to access CSPI’s website at http://www.cspinet.org/takeaction/index.html, and send a message to your member of Congress. If you don’t like our version, you can even rewrite the letter!

But please weigh in. It is how democracy works. If they only hear from Western Price . . . it will be no surprise what happens.

Happy and safe 4th of July!

CSPI’s food safety team

  • John Munsell

    I don’t want to be redundant, so will not repeat my reasons for opposing the HACCP Hoax. Suffice it to say, in this brief comment, that HACCP was jointly engineered by USDA and the big packers to deregulate meat inspection. Admittedly, I am a scoundrel……….and so is every human who has ever lived! We all have wicked hearts, meaning that the vast majority of us are for sale, while we pursue maximizing our income, and profits. This is not newsworthy, but we do need to be reminded. This fact was front and center in Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle” in 1906, which resulted in the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which brought close federal supervision over meat, poultry and eggs. Less than 100 years later, in 1998, HACCP was implemented at the big packers, which deregulated the industry. USDA proudly and publicly stated that its role under the HACCP ideal would be “Hands Off”, and that they would no longer police the industry, but that the industry would police itself. No one should be surprised that the number of meat recalls and outbreaks in recent years has been on the uptick. Now, why would our government ever endorse allowing us humans to police ourselves? Well, the top 4 meat packers now kill over 80% of the feedlot animals in America. You might say the top 4 have political clout, and the financial wherewithal to engage USDA in protracted litigation whenever the agency would audaciously attempt to implement meaningful enforcement actions against one of the big 4. So, HACCP has allowed USDA to embrace a semi-retirement role at the big packers (exactly the opposite is true at small plants, which are easier enforcement prey), which plays into the hands of USDA officials who lack the courage to challenge these huge multi-national packers. We need to return to the previous system of “Hands On” meat inspection (same is true for plants covered by FDA), and couple it with a substantial increase in government-conducted microbiological testing at all plants, with all test results posted in real time on national web sites for all to peruse. Once this is done, we will quickly determine what plants are truly noncompliant with public health imperatives. Senators and Representatives who have large food plants in their states will be adamantly opposed to my suggestions, but let’s give them a chance to prove where their hearts are. John Munsell