The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Food Hazards Grow

Jun 3, 2007

Worrisome headlines pointed out tainted pet food killed 16 pets in March. In May the media talked of tainted toothpaste endangering people. We have been told our health is in danger because standards are not met in the food industry in China.

Yes, our health is in danger. But the problem lies right here in the USA.

Some ten billion dollars worth of food and animal feed is imported every year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged, after all the scare headlines, that it inspects far LESS than one% of these imports.

But it inspects even less of domestically produced food. Overall, the FDA makes less than 8,000 inspections per year. There are so few inspections that each food supplier might face an inspection once every 10 years, if that.

Even when the FDA does inspect, it does little. The FDA knew about salmonella contamination of peanut butter at a ConAgra factory since 2005. It did nothing–until people died last summer.

The FDA also had known about E. coli-contaminated spinach in California’s Salinas Valley since 1995. It did nothing until after three deaths last winter.

The media, with blazing headlines about China, somehow fails to mention that more than 5,000 PEOPLE die every year in this country from food-borne illnesses; an additional 350,000 people are hospitalized, and millions more are sickened by foods, according to the Center for Disease Control.

China didn’t kill or harm these people. Big U.S. agribusiness–with the complicity of the FDA–did.