Saturday, March 14, 2009


Today Barack Obama essentially characterized the food safety system in the US as broken, a good first step toward ending predator state disregard for it.

"President Barack Obama has said the US food safety system is a 'public health hazard' and in need of an overhaul," reported the Beeb today here.

It was a remarkable turn around. A year ago, with the Bush administration still in power, it was still OK for US businesses to sicken and kill Americans with tainted food and drugs. Trivial money was tossed at the FDA, an agency left to atrophy as spending at the Dept. of Homeland Security ballooned.

Obama's position is in stark contrast to recent ideas on how to 'fix' food safety in the US by not fixing it, offered by predator state cheerleaders and buffoons at the Wall Street Journal and a right-wing think tank. (See here.)

It's nuts to do anything, recommended the WSJ. Food safety will take care of itself.

"[Authorize] private companies to inspect food, along the lines of Underwriters Laboratories for electrical appliances or kosher certification for food," wrote someone dangerously incompetent from the redoubt of an institute for high button right wing cranks.

"The president said recent underfunding and understaffing at the FDA had left the agency unable to conduct annual inspections of more than a fraction of America's 150,000 food processing premises," continued the BBC. "That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change ..."

The only potentially cautionary note was in the naming of "[Dr. Margaret Hamburg], a bioterrorism expert who was an assistant health secretary under President Bill Clinton" to lead the FDA.

DD will say why.

Everyone -- that is, EVERYONE -- who has claimed interest in bioterrorism and operated from cabinet or assistant secretary positions in the US government over the past decade has generally been wrong about everything they attempted to predict.

Example: "Since 2001, [Hamburg] has been vice president for biological programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation dedicated to reducing the threat to public safety from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons," reads part of a biography at the National Institute of Health. "She is a leading advocate for changes in the nation's public health policies and infrastructure, from local health departments to the highest levels of government, to meet the challenges presented by modern bioterrorism."

See here for a sample of the standard hack's dishwater on the menace. "Hamburg highlighted critical issues that remain to be addressed as America and the world prepare to deal with a threat once thought to be 'the stuff of science fiction or Tom Clancy adventure novels,'" it reads. "Today's 'A-list' of threats includes anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia, viral hemorrhagic fevers and botulism."

"Truth is, probably no single terrorist attack -- no matter how horrifying and catastrophic could threaten the very stability of our society and institutions the way that biological weapons could accept, perhaps, for a nuclear attack," Hamburg goes on here. "Yet compared to nuclear weapons, biological weapons are relatively inexpensive and easy to produce ... What is more, information on how to obtain and prepare bioweapons is increasingly available through the Internet."

It's an appalling collection of all the fact free memes on the subject: Bioweapons are easy to make and the information can be downloaded from the Internet.

This country has many pressing problems. But one of these "challenge" is not reorganizing the health system to simply thwart bioterrorism. In the last ten years, the only bioterrorist in action, the anthrax mailer, was an American from inside the bioterror defense industry.

And in materials from the public record, government bioterrorism experts have been principally responsible for creating the meme that it would be easy for terrorists to poison the food supply. Reality has, at this juncture, shown the opposite.

Indeed, Barack Obama's statements on revitalizing food safety are welcome. However, the appointment of someone who has simply been part of the catastrophic-bioterrorism-is-coming US government expert mafia does not guarantee that change will come. Food safety in this country has not been undermined by bioterrorism; it has been suborned by corporate self-interest and greed.


Food tampering in the real world

Feigning interest in fixing food safety


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