Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hope Your Lunch Has Settled Before You Read This

The Boston Globe has an editorial about the FDA. Some of the key points (sit down for this!):

The FDA is located in Montgomery County, Md. , a suburb of the nation's capital; the suburb's school board has a bigger budget than the FDA; the county's budget is twice that size.
After the 9/11 attacks, Tommy Thompson, then Health and Human Services secretary, demanded that the food inspection force at the nation's ports be improved, and 600 more inspectors were rapidly put in place to examine the burgeoning imports of food. Today, they are all gone, the victims of year-by-year budget cuts that cripple the agency's ability to do even rudimentary screening of our food.
There are 13 million food imports this year, with FDA able to inspect only about 1 percent. The system is so weak that many FDA professionals fear the word is out in the international community you can send virtually anything, of any quality, regardless of risk, to the United States, because no one's looking.
The FDA is responsible for inspecting over 200,000 food processing facilities in the United States, but because their staffing is so inadequate, they can get to most only once every 10 to 15 years....


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