The Spark

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

Not Nearly Enough Food Safety

Apr 20, 2009

In California and Florida, some of the big agricultural growers are actually paying government officials to inspect their crops – and not officials of the FDA.

Are they worried about some forty thousand of us who end up in the hospital from food poisoning? No, they are worried about their profits – and they even say it! Two years ago, the spinach growers suffered one hundred million dollars in losses when E-coli had spread through the food chain.

It’s obvious the FDA doesn’t inspect or verify the sanitary condition of the food chain. It can’t – it’s been starved of funds for at least 30 years. Newspapers reported last week that the FDA currently has 1,307 inspectors – that means 26 inspectors per state. Twenty-six inspectors could not even inspect all the food establishments in one single major city. And the FDA is not only responsible for groceries and restaurants, it is responsible for production, storage and distribution of all food in the United States except meat.

Over a five year period, from 2002 to 2007, fewer than one% of all establishments were inspected even once.

So now growers pay someone else to inspect their operations. The next time they sicken thousands of people and get sued, they’ll be able to whip out the inspection clearance they paid for.