Current News


You’re Eating That?

Published: November 26, 2007

A few years ago Americans walked into the grocery store and plucked items from
the shelves with a confidence that the world could only envy. Now, according to
a survey for the Food Marketing Institute, only 66 percent of consumers in the
United States are confident that the food they buy is safe, down from 82
percent last year. With news of killer spinach, tainted hamburger patties and
imported seafood that can provide as many toxins as omega-3s, who can blame

Food safety, like toy safety, is part of a growing national concern that
government agencies that are supposed to protect consumers have been whittled
down to incompetence. The Bush administration insists it is focusing on import
safety — finally. Congress must keep pressing for a complete overhaul of the
consumer protection system. Each day there is news of another dangerous hole in
the consumer safety net.

USA Today pointed out a particularly glaring problem last week. The private
laboratories that test foods from companies on the government’s “import alert
list” cannot automatically report tainted food to the Food and Drug
Administration. Instead, they must give their reports to the importer who is
paying for the test. If a shipment fails one laboratory’s test, some importers
have switched to a less-reputable laboratory to get the tainted foodstuff
through. That cannot be allowed. When labs find a batch of food with too much
pesticide or salmonella or worse, they should be required to alert the F.D.A.,
not hope the companies will come clean for them.

The F.D.A. needs to follow through on promises to determine which companies
abroad are more trustworthy and which require closer scrutiny. One quick
solution would be to immediately require accreditation of private laboratories
through the International Standards Organization. The best labs would welcome
that certification.

The government should also require importers to announce which laboratory they
will use in advance so that there can be no switching later. And some of the
additional money from Congress should go to updating the F.D.A.’s own equipment
for random or follow-up testing and to develop a system to more efficiently
track data about imports, companies and their past performance.

After years of mollycoddling the industry, the Bush administration needs to
start protecting America’s consumers. Many members of the food industry now
understand that they are losing their customers’ confidence, which means
they’re in danger of losing their business.

The Food Marketing Institute — with 1,500 members, including major grocery
chains and wholesalers — is calling for new rules that would allow the
government to recall any food shipment if the producer or importer hesitates.
That makes sense to us. Americans need to be a lot more confident that what is
on sale at the corner grocery is safe enough to eat.



The Power Hour:
(7-10am CST)
···Listen Live

Listen FREE thru Global Star Satellite Feed






All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

Copyright © 2007. The Power Hour. All rights reserved.