Editor’s Note: the title for this article very well could have read “Food Fascism Comes to The Land of The Free,” but I’m being picky. Latest from the Associated Propaganda piece below:
Darlene Superville and Mary Clare Jalonick
WASHINGTON — When salmonella-laced peanut products sickened hundreds during a recent scare, President Barack Obama said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe – and that included his daughter Sasha.
“That’s what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week,” Obama said then. “And you know, I don’t want to have to worry about whether she’s going to get sick as a consequence to having her lunch.”
On Tuesday, Obama is getting a chance to allay people’s fears about the safety of their food. He is set to sign a $1.4 billion overhaul of the food safety system, giving Washington new power to increase inspections at food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted products.
Congress passed the bill at the end of last year to respond to several serious outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella poisoning in peanuts, eggs and produce in the past few years. The law will be the first major overhaul of the U.S. food safety system since the 1930s.
“It will bring our food safety system into the 21st century, improving health, saving lives and helping Americans feel confident that when they sit down at their dinner table they won’t end up in the hospital,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Monday during a conference call.
The measure gives the Food and Drug Administration substantial new authority, but the money to carry out the legislation is not guaranteed. Some conservative lawmakers have expressed concern about the five-year cost at a time when cutting federal spending is the Washington mantra in a tight budget environment. Supporters say they intend to push Congress for the full funding.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who hopes to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that “our food supply is 99.999 percent safe.” Kingston cited recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people – or one in six Americans – are sickened each year by foodborne illnesses. Of that, 180,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die annually.