Voice of the people
Meat inspection must remain a government task
Regarding the Letter "Let FDA control meat inspection" on Sept. 11:
The suggestion that the responsibility for meat inspection be moved from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Food and Drug Administration is one that gets repeated every time meat inspection makes headlines. Unfortunately, just shifting to a different branch of government won't solve the problems with this critical consumer protection program.
More important than which department is in charge are the programs' core values and the leadership making key decisions. In my book "Foodopoly," I explain how key decisions to tie USDA inspectors' hands and allow more industry self-policing were made in the 1990s and the official who designed this policy change, Michael Taylor, is now overseeing a major overhaul of food safety programs at FDA. Not surprisingly, under Taylor's leadership, FDA is moving toward a system that allows companies to use private certification schemes to comply with food safety rules, rather than government inspections to enforce the new rules.
No matter where meat inspection happens, it needs to be done by government employees, not the companies themselves. That commitment to independent inspection is what will protect consumers from unsafe food.
Is Bloomberg buying Manchin?
I thought I should write this to publicly thank anti-Second Amendment New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for holding the $1,000-per-plate fundraising dinner for our Sen. Joe Manchin.
If I didn't know better, I would think the mayor and anti-gun New York Sen. Charles Schumer believe they have found someone they can work with to pass legislation further restricting gun rights. But surely they are just nice people, and would not expect any favors in return.
After all, they only raised a few hundred thousand dollars, and Senator Manchin wouldn't feel obligated for such a small sum.