Consider this: the number of people in this country who die each year from food borne illnesses is the same as the number of Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003! Shocked? So was I when I read this statistic in Eric Schlosser’s piece on the food safety bill in the New York Times.
The Bill under consideration would enable the FDA to conduct more comprehensive testing, issue recalls, take punitive measures against offenders, and also enforce application of US food safety standards on imported food, among other things. So whats holding it up? Some concerns about increased power of agribusinesses and impacts on small farmers have surfaced and they can be attended to but mostly it is the usual vested interests: food processors who do not want their boat rocked. It is time to ask: why is the Senate dragging its feet on legislation that would protect lives? We need to act now.