business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports on how the food safety establishment seems to be caught in the middle of a perfect storm - there have been an increased number of food-related illnesses in the US, but fiscal pressures mean that the cause of food safety may face budget cuts, or at the very least a decrease in expected budget boosts.

The irony is that last year, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed what was described as landmark food safety legislation designed to increase vigilance and funding, and, as the Times puts it, “reduce the frequency and severity of food safety problems.”

While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is writing rules designed to meet the mandate established by the new law, there are concerns that there simply won’t be the money to implement these rules.
KC's View:
And then, of course, there also are concerns in various quarters that the rules may be insufficient, in other places that the rules will be too intrusive, and still others that they will be unfairly applied in a way that could benefit big players and hurt little guys, or vice-versa. And the problem is that all of these concerns could have some validity ... and are made tougher by the fact that money seems to be the biggest concern.

Listen, it’s not just food safety. At some point, we need to start thinking - as citizens - about what is important to us, about the priorities of the government that is supposed to represent us.

I’d put food safety pretty high on the list. I’m not entirely convinced that the way the food safety establishment is current constructed is the best way to accomplish this ... but I’m not sure cutting back on investment is the best way to do it, either.