Friday, April 12, 2013

Where Have We Heard This Story Before?

Trey Smith

Each time there is a mass shooting in the US, we seem to follow the same scenario. Citizens and lawmakers vow that this tragedy will be the one that ushers in a serious discussion about this nation's insane guns laws. While the wounds are fresh, it is said that a whole host of curbs and protections will be enacted. Sadly, once the nation's attention moves on to focus on the next sensational issue, the rhetoric dies out and the few, if any, measures discussed and subsequently passed are about as weak and watered down as they can get.

Guess what. There is another potentially dangerous issue that tends to follow this same path.
Nothing changes — whatever familiar measures are announced after every food scandal, once the politicians, manufacturers and retailers have made their claims and counterclaims, and after we’ve gone through the ritual demands for transparency, traceability and labeling. What we really need to do is widen our focus from the contents of “beef” lasagne to the intersecting routes of the current global agricultural system.
It seems that no matter how many consumers are killed or sickened, food policy in the US -- like gun policy -- doesn't change substantially. In fact, in many ways, our laws and regulations aimed at protecting the public food supply are moving in the opposite direction!

Even before the federal budget sequester period began, funds have been cut to those agencies charged with inspecting our food. There are fewer food inspectors today than there were 5 or 10 years ago and there weren't enough of them back then. Our main food suppliers are allowed to write the laws and regulations that ostensibly oversee them and even these minimal standards routinely are undercut and abused.

It amazes me that so many of my fellow US citizens can get so up in arms over supposed attacks on their 2nd Amendment rights and yet they seem wholly unconcerned with the basic human right to safe and quality food. A gun won't do you much good if the food you eat is so tainted that you can't muster the strength to pick up the gun in the first place!!

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