Election year politics are suspected of playing serious havoc with food safety, and putting public health at risk, per The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health.
And the Centers are putting might behind their fighting words.
This week, the non-profits filed a law suit against two federal agencies... the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)... for failure to implement many vital mandates of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. In their legal filing, the Centers explain:
"FSMA is the first major piece of federal legislation to overhaul food safety since 1938. Continuous high profile outbreaks related to various foods, ranging from spinach to peanut products to eggs, underscored the need for serious legislative and regulatory reform.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, as a result of foodborne diseases, 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
"... FSMA enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening its ability to regulate and granting the agency enhanced preventative and mandate authority. The law also provides FDA with new enforcement capacity, such as mandatory recall authority, and the ability to require that imported foods comply with U.S. inspection and preventive safety standards.
" ... FDA has missed not one, not two, but seven critical deadlines, and counting, in failing to implement FSMA's major food safety regulations."
Both the Washington Post and New York Times have openly urged President Obama's White House to move forward to stop burying food safety measures in the depths of bureaucratic muck.
"The multibillion-dollar refined-food industry has gained such power that it keeps people in ignorance and literally controls the health of our nation. Its relentless radio, television, newspaper, and magazine advertising reaches like the life-crushing tentacles of an octopus into every home.
"Half the space in our beautiful markets is given to health-destroying products which fill shoppers' baskets to a frightening degree. Hundreds of magazines and newspapers, depending on advertising income from the foodless food industry, have carried articles and syndicated columns --- clever mixtures of truth, misinformation, and propaganda--- particularly designed to prevent the slightest interest in nutrition from interfering with enormous profits.
"The refined-food industry, by giving untold million, also controls a vast amount of nutritional research. Much of it is valuable, indeed, but information that might harm sales goes unreported and problems whose solutions could decrease profits remain uninvestigated...
Meet Ensure "nutrition shakes," one of the most spectacularly selling fake foods in America. $1 billion in sales in 2009, and growing.
Bought by seniors in the millions as meal replacements. Used to supplement the diets of picky children. Hawked as a solution to build muscles, meet nutritional needs, fortify calcium, restore vigor, aid recovery from illness and surgery.
The sapphire-and-navy plastic 8-oz bottle of vanilla Ensure Nutrition Shake (which retails for an exorbitant $1.33 per bottle!) here on my desk lures on the label:
- complete, balanced nutrition
- to help get strong on the inside
- #1 doctor recommended brand
"Ready to take charge of your health? Check out how Ensure ready-to-drink shakes and drinks can help you reach your goal," exhorts Abbott Nutrition, part of Big Pharma corporate giant Abbott Laboratories on their website. (Abbott Labs, the maker of addictive painkiller Vicodin and dozens of other highly profitable drugs...)