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The Chicago Sun Times reports that Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman said yesterday that new food safety regulations were “overburdening” food companies, though “she did not call for the repeal of any specific rules.”

Bachman said, “We want to have safety. But we also want to have common sense.”

The statement came just a week after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new regulations for E. coli testing in meat, and a discovery of listeria in cantaloupes that killed four people and sickened dozens of others.

The argument against new regulation is that, Bachman said, “when they make it complicated, they make it expensive and so then you can no longer stay in business.”

According to the story, “Bachmann wrapped up a two-day Iowa campaign swing at Amend Packing Co., where owner Kent Wiese said his business had never been cited for food-safety violations yet struggled to keep up with federal regulations, especially amid the economic downturn ... Wiese said large-scale meatpackers should be required to submit to a more rigorous testing regimen, because of the volume of animals they process. Wiese butchers 12 to 15 head of cattle once a week, while national meatpackers handle hundreds per hour.”
KC's View:
I have to believe that one of the hardest things about regulating any industry is making those rules size-appropriate. No matter what you do, someone is going to be unhappy ... but I’m not sure that this is a good argument for simply not regulating.

Can our legislators do a better job at creating effective regulations that are sensitive to the exigencies of the real world, rather than being mostly political in nature? Of course. Only a fool would argue otherwise. But I also don’t want to simply stop doing things like trying to create a safer food supply simply because we have an imperfect political system.