Today’s Update on the Pet Food Recall—5/8/2007

More editorials. The Chicago Sun-Times urges passage of the Safe Food Act, sponsored by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin:

One can only hope Durbin’s re-introduced measure will gain traction following a disturbing New York Times report about people, possibly in the thousands, dying from medications containing a toxic syrup — a scheme that, again, has been traced to China, which has become a major exporter of food to the United States but is scrutinized by the FDA no more now than before. And Congress must not only take actions to ramp up and streamline inspections of incoming product, it must take steps to get the countries exporting these goods to conduct own inspections.

They’re right that a more effective solution is to get countries of origin to do more inspecting of their own but China is notoriously difficult to motivate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: public shame.

There’s an op-ed in the Hawaii Reporter calling for growing your own food. That’s not really a practical alternative for most of us. However, this point

Of course, the recall of pet food is supposed to reassure the public that something has been done, and the newly packaged food is now safe. However, a recall of contaminated human food containing melamine has not yet been done as of this writing, presumably to prevent a public panic and financial ruin for the companies using these ubiquitous food additives. This would not be the first time in history when public safety was subordinated to financial interests and the fear of creating a panic.

and I have no doubt that’s how many people feel. Paternalism in contradiction to the obvious results in a loss of confidence in the government’s actions.

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  • Farm-raised fish in Canada, the latest part of the human food supply confirmed to have been fed Chinese fake protein — wheat flour with melamine. The amounts passed along are thought to be too small to be harmful. No word on whether its effect is cumulative.

    I hope the Chinese economy gets a hard hit from this, because it’s the only way they’ll change.

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