Friday, January 23, 2009


From Newsday courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

Possible FDA head: More staff needed to inspect food

The Food and Drug Administration is not staffed to handle the growing complexity of food inspection, especially now that a significant amount comes from abroad and is never inspected, a leading candidate to head the embattled agency said yesterday.

Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic - and reported to be on President Barack Obama's short list to become FDA chief - said food inspection is swamped by the FDA's other responsibilities: the approval of medications and medical devices.

The result is an overworked and understaffed agency continually hit by sweeping food scares that sicken scores of people and sometimes result in death.

"The truth be told, the FDA is a failed agency ... the main problem is that it is terribly underfunded," Nissen said. "It needs to do more inspections, especially of foods brought in internationally. We are all very vulnerable. This has to be fixed and fixed quickly."

More here.

President Obama certainly has a full plate in front of him. So to speak.

This latest tainted food scandal is yet another in-your-face reminder that our nation has been ravaged by fifteen years of Republican "government-is-the-problem" dominance: the GOP controlled Congress, which ended only two years ago, has deeply slashed funding for regulatory agencies across the board, while eight years of White House conservatism have changed these agencies' role from consumer protection to the enabling of consumer exploitation. That is, the salmonella peanut butter scare, like other recent salmonella and E. coli scares before it, is a designed crisis. I mean, what possible result can one expect from heavy deregulation of consumer protection agencies but this one?

Thank god there's a new sheriff in town. Like I keep saying, I don't see eye to eye with President Obama on numerous issues, but this isn't one of them. I'm expecting great change in this area soon. I'm fully anticipating extraordinarily loud squeals of indignation from America's capitalist pig class.

It's going to sound good.