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Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's OK, I Never Liked Artichokes, Anyway

The lead article in today's New York Times, "F.D.A. Offers Broad New Rules to Fight Food Contamination," discussed requirements the federal agency may impose on food producers across the country.  As I read about how the FDA may require producers to ensure that contaminated food not come into contact with other food or how farm workers may be mandated to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, all I could think was, "You mean this isn't required ALREADY?!?"

And the Tea Party thinks there's too MUCH government regulation?!?

According to the article, the FDA estimates that these new rules will prevent about 1.75 million illnesses each year--which sounds impressive, until you notice that the article also says that, each year, one in six Americans becomes ill as a result of food contamination.  That's 50 million people!  Seems to me that maybe the FDA needs to consider some other strategy.

Also, these rules--many of which focus on the need to keep food away from what we might call human "leavings" would primarily focus on fruits and vegetables that tend to be eaten raw.  "Vegetables that are much more likely to be consumed cooked, like potatoes and artichokes, would be exempt from the rules."  In other words, when you check out those big, juicy Idaho browns at the supermarket, just remember: The FDA has said you're on your own.

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