New Proposal May Put the Nation’s Food Safety at Even Greater Risk

January 24, 2012
Print This Post Print This Post

USDA-FDAThe USDA’s food safety wing may come under control of the FDA. This will mean more power, wider scope—and greater corruption.

Allegedly as a means of eliminating agency overlap and bureaucratic waste, the Obama administration wants to consolidate a number of federal agencies. Last year the president pointed out that the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater, and joked, “I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

According to an official at the Office of Management and Budget, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would be merged with the food safety unit at the FDA. While the proposal sounds reasonable on the surface, this would do nothing to address the systemic conflicts of interest within the FDA, and would actually increase the agency’s tendency toward crony capitalism.

Food Safety News reports that Mike Taylor, the former acting undersecretary for food safety at the USDA and the current deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, has been advocating for a single food safety agency located “anywhere but at the USDA.” Former USDA official Dr. Richard Raymond, who now works as a food safety and public health consultant, believes that “a merger of the two food safety agencies would be an unmitigated disaster,” and unless megadollars flowed with the merger, nothing more could be accomplished than is currently done.

We might add that much harm could be done because the FDA knows nothing whatever about farming. The Food Safety Enhancement Act has already put FDA on the farm as a potential rule-maker and inspector, ignoring the agency’s complete lack of expertise in this field.

Obama administration officials are said to favor the merger because it would make food safety independent of USDA which, they note, primarily exists to market and promote American farm products. But rather than addressing the real issue—that USDA is in the pocket of the agricultural industry (“Big Farma”)—the administration instead wants to shift food safety over to the FDA, where both Big Farma and Big Pharma rule the roost.

Worse than that, the FDA will undoubtedly employ the form of food safety analysis it has learned about from its international counterparts over many years of meetings on food safety at Codex Alimentarius. This kind of food safety tends to say that food additives like aspartame, as well as a whole host of pesticides residues and genetically-modified (GM) foods, are safe, while demonstrating inexcusable scientific ignorance with their dietary advice.

If you think crony capitalism is bad at the USDA, just look at FDA’s existing record in regulating agriculture products. Two weeks ago we reported on how FDA crumbled under agriculture industry pressure and announced that the agency would no longer try to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in animal feed.

Then there’s FDA’s attempts to win approval for AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon despite overwhelming consumer opposition. Jurisdiction over genetically engineered food is shared by both the USDA (agriculture) and the FDA (food products). Both agencies are heavily influenced by the powerful GMO industry. Consolidation would merely ensure faster passage for genetically engineered products. So much for a new emphasis on “food safety”!

FDA is seriously underfunded and notoriously inept—their management of pharmaceuticals has led to skyrocketing prices, drug shortages, and a shocking lack of transparency—even suppressing scientific data about medicines that the drug companies found unfavorable. There is no indication that the FDA becoming a megabureacracy with complete control over food safety would produce better results.

Help us reform the FDA! An agency whose approval of dangerous drugs kills 50,000 Americans each year, and which systematically attacks natural supplements and censors scientific research, should not be getting more power and authority over our food supply. Please read about our Reform FDA campaign, and then sign our petition, which we will hand-deliver to Congress!

30 Responses to “New Proposal May Put the Nation’s Food Safety at Even Greater Risk”

  1. mollydagurl says:

    This is bad for us. I don’t know what is he thinking. Why not give a chance for alternative medicine. Are they blind? Many people on their own realize that alternative medicine is better. We just have to eat organic and exercise. that’s all we need to do. wake up Obama. We just need to have a proper diet plan. It could help us to be healthy. Please someone share this to Obama so he could learn – http://www.mercola.com/Downloads/bonus/nutritional-typing/report.aspx

       0 likes

  2. tekwyzrd says:

    The FDA is responsible for the many unsafe drugs and medical devices that have reached the market and caused harm. They can’t handle their current responsibilities so it’s foolish to add to them. Strip the FDA of food oversight responsibilities, change the name, and put the Department of Agriculture in charge of food safety. Ffood is not a drug or medical device. Healthy wholesome foods result in healthier people. Healthier people take less prescription drugs. Since this would reduce pharmaceutical company profits the FDA would insure the food supply is less safe. I’d trust the Dept of Agriculture before I’d trust the FDA.

       0 likes

  3. Joan Makurat says:

    Are you assuming that USDA does a better job of protecting the food supply that the FDA does? While I agree the FDA is too cozy with the industries it supposedly oversees, USDA is definitely in the pockets of Agribusiness, so they are much good either. Things are only going to get worse as Congress defunds the government, and the law of the jungle returns.

       0 likes

  4. Lisa says:

    I watched Obama’s State of the Union’s last night. I thought he did a wonderful job. He did point out food and water safety as an issue, but I did not hear anything regarding alternative medicines. I believe the public should have the right to use alternative medicines/supplements and that the Government has no business interferring with a subject that is an individuals choice and none of their business.

       0 likes

  5. Evelyn Coltman says:

    The FDA has done a poor job of stopping pharmaceutical companies from putting dangerous drugs on the market which, down the road, have to be removed because of numerous deaths and multiple side effects. Sometimes, because of the too-close-connection between FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, drugs remain on the market that should have been pulled for adverse safety issues. A merger of USDA/FDA would be a bad idea and would consolidate the influence of both agri-business and big pharma on our food supply. Please examine this merger and the potential is has for abuse.

       0 likes

  6. I agree that:
    a single food safety agency located “anywhere but at the USDA.” And that it would be a disaster to merge these agencies… the FDA does need total reform. If we look to Europe, Hungary, Poland, etc., we will be following a model that considers the impact of our actions on all fronts, and is not just sucking up to profiteers like Monsanto and others who benefit financially in the short term, at what cost? It is the most immature and ignorant approach to NOT consider these effects, it a moral imperative to commit to creating agencies that can support health in our country rather than more money for the already wealthy.

       0 likes

  7. Kristine R Treat says:

    Please keep our food free of synthetic chemicals, anitbiotics and added hormones. Please advocate for Whole Plant Food consumption. Stop subsidizing the meat and dairy industries. Put real science behind our educational institutions. Teach the highest scientific level of nutrition to our doctors and keep the pharmaceutical companies out of their information stream.

       0 likes

  8. We must keep these two groups seperate. The FDA wants full control over Natural health so the can sell their drugs. Drugs which are harmful if not watched closely by your Doctors. Many Doctors trust what the Drug Companies tell them and add more drugs to control the side effects.
    I know because I was one of the victoms and almost died.

       0 likes

  9. Fred Oswald says:

    Government regulatory agencies must work to protect the American public. Agency workers duty is to the citizens of this country.

       0 likes

  10. Virginia Gail Vonderweidt says:

    Food Safety is a must. No more genetic manipulation.

       0 likes

  11. Barbara Regulinski says:

    I would surport Michelle Obama to head USDA. She has shown her concern for food safety for her family by planting an organic garden at the White House. If she were given the power and
    financial surport she would need we might be rescued from “big farma.”

    Also hopefully from “big Pharma” and its promotion of antibiotic use in factory farmed food animals.

    It has become obvious to the ordinary taxpayers that Monsanta is only interested in promoting the use of their poisonous Round-Up. We need another Rachel Carson who warned up about DDT many years ago.

    It was also a woman who prevented American babies from being born with no arms – their hands projecting directly from their shoulders as happened in Europe by the use of a drug that prevented nausea in pregnant women.

    Why is that the people who are supposed to protect Americans from dangerous foods and drugs
    seem to have no idea of what their job description calls for?

       0 likes

  12. Peter Wick says:

    The FDA is already too corrupt and has a bias against nutritional supplements they should not have any more power.It should be recognized the some foods and nutrients have natural medicinal property.A seperate agency that is not so biased should have authority over them.

       0 likes

  13. Diane Harms says:

    I don’t understand why they want the FDA in charge of something they know nothing about. Isn’t it bad enough that Big Pharma is in their back pocket now we have to look forward to control over our health through food. When do we as consumers have a say? I don’t trust the FDA and neither does the average American but no one listens to us!

       0 likes

  14. joan downey says:

    PLEASE LEAVE THE FDA ALONE. For Health reasons I need to know what is in the food.
    Mr. President I have CELIAC SPRUE AND IT IS A LIFE TIME ILLNESS. I can’t have gluten of any kind. So please don’t mess with the FDA.
    THANK YOU
    JOAN

       0 likes

  15. Sharron Chadwick says:

    Be honest. Best policy. Money isn’t everything, you can’t take it with you.

       0 likes

  16. Christine says:

    We are headed for disaster if we believe that merging FSIS with FDA would be better for the American people or would help reduce government spending. Eventually government spending will only escalate because the bucket will be passed to them, once we can’t afford to pay our debts due to our ever-increasing medical costs. Regardless of how innovative Americans are we can’t compete in a global economy if we can’t work because we are unhealthy!

       0 likes

  17. Please help to alert every American that we are losing our health food manufacturers, and the right to eat, or be educated about health food. It appears that we are subjected to the same conditions that led to the Revolutionary War of 1776:

    “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

    Declaration of Independence July 4th 1776.

    I need your support to alert as many Americans as possible about the FDA and DOJ’s actions against citizens who manufacture herbal products. My nonprofit Christian Church is being criminalized for creating natural herb products which they define as drugs. They bullied me. They threatened me with closer if I did not capitulate, and sign a letter agreeing that I am guilty . I have sued them and here are the results so far.

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE CASE AND OUR LEGAL STRATEGY: https://www.healthherbs.com/my-complaint-against-fda-doj.html

    God bless America!

       0 likes

  18. Cary Semit says:

    The FDA is a flawed, inept agency that does not recognize science and test results as the basis for approving foods that will be consumed. It gives approval to genetically modified foods that contain pesticides and herbacides that have proven harmful to consumers. It is heavily influenced by large commercial interests and seems to tune out concerns for the safety of the American public.
    The FDA is in need of an overhaul. Individuals concerned with the safety of the populace should be in charge. The FDA should not be given more authority as it fails to provide the service that was intended upon its creation. They do not even monitor anti-biotics in animal feed, clearly they are controlled by large agra-business interests, and should be reprimanded, not given more authority. Get rid of the current climate of corruption and criminal behavior in the FDA before even considering giving it more authority.

       0 likes

  19. Linda Berthoin says:

    There are studies about the harm GMO foods do to people, but they seem to be ignored. The problem is that people really are getting sick from all this, and it just earns more money for big Pharma. How can people win here?

       0 likes

  20. Sharron Chadwick says:

    As they say, honesty is the best policy. Make it so.

       0 likes

  21. Karen Brick says:

    Please do not merge the USDA’s FSIS with the FDA’S food safety unit as the FDA knows nothing about farming and the merger would also create a conflict of interest as the FDA oversees pharmaceuticals and our food supply needs to be separate and apart from an agency that is responsible for approving pharmaceuticals. Antibiotics in our food supply has become a major problem. In addition to this, the FDA has ignored widespread consumer opposition to GMO’s in our food supply by promoting AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon. The FDA needs to be reduced in size and scope and is incapable of adequately and honestly monitoring our food supply.

       0 likes

  22. More Corrpuption than ever before?
    Whole food and natural supplements belong in a category for themselves. Otherwise the American Medical Association and Big Pharma is going to monopolize without any suporting facts or figures.

       0 likes

  23. Frank Aquilino says:

    The USDA’s food safety wing may come under control of the FDA. This will mean more power, wider scope—and greater corruption. Since the FDA is not equipped to measure food safety and has no experience with this program. It will take control of foods out of the hands as we have seen with NAFTA, This mean more poisoned foods enetering the USA. a very dangerous situation to the citizens of the USA.

       0 likes

  24. Lee Horner says:

    Under current FDA conditions, this would be a MAJOR mistake. The FDA is effectively owned by big PhRMA. If this change happens, it would be owned by the food industry as well. This is disaster upon disaster waiting to happen.

    We are already not allowed to know about cures for cancer and other life-threatening health issues that are not part of the cut, burn and poison industry. We are not allowed to know which so-called “fresh” foods are irradiated, therefore destroying much of its nutritional value. We are not allowed to know which foods on the supermarket shelf have been genetically tampered with, even though it has been proven that some of those foods pose health risks to those most vulnerable.

    President Obama, Please don’t let the FDA get their hands on our food sources.

       0 likes

  25. Lorraine Ciuba says:

    Has anyone noticed that any changes this president makes DOES NOT BENEFIT YOU AND ME?! Our health is being jeopardized. Looks like Big Farma has contributed enough dollars to Obama’s campaign to have this “merge” done in their favor. Get FDA out of policing our FOOD! Food AND Drug Industry as one agency never made sense. Food and Drugs, complete opposites? Oh wait………..lets see….we can easily use the drugs for “FOOD ingredients” without any “oversight
    from anyone else”. How about you dump the FDA Obama, and leave the USDA oversee the Food industry!

       0 likes

  26. Lucy Swerdfeger says:

    The idea of allowing the FDA complete control over our food safety wing is disconcerting.

       0 likes

  27. Robert Butler says:

    Food safety act

       0 likes

  28. Kate Harris says:

    Do not allow the 2 departments to consolidate it will further increase the corruption and the control or even information dissemination to the Public so we can act and get more info on specific plans before they are SHOVED down our throats, as usual!

       0 likes

  29. Pam Hopmann says:

    We need safer food supplies, and this would certainly make things worse.

       0 likes

  30. buck says:

    The FDA , like the EPA and so many other fed. administrations needs to be shut down and re-organized with ” NO ” powers other than to pass on information to those meant to enforce regulations and let uninvolved enforcers deem what is within the law and what isn’t . All these ” fed. administrations ” are RIFE with corruptio and kickbacks and their under the table paybacks and good ole boy networks .

       0 likes

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:
ANH-USA provides a comment forum for our readers to share their constructive thoughts and criticisms about our newsletter articles and engage in civil debate with other readers. All comments are pre-moderated regardless of author. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only remove those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use foul language, include personal attacks, or are otherwise discourteous and uncivil. Please do not post comments in ALL CAPS; on the internet this is considered "shouting."

 characters available

Follow us on...