Are We Over Regulating Our Food Processing Companies At Home and Letting Foreign Firms Slide?

Latrina M. Midkiff

Going into the fall of 2012 Foster Farms filed bankruptcy, some of this was blamed on the Mid West drought that year causing the cost of feed to skyrocket, but that wasn’t the only challenge, too was the issue of regulations, and a new set of stringent rules concerning animal waste and protein fibers getting into the ground water. Then there were the issues with transportation regulations and cost of fuel.

The inspections have increased although they are scheduled to decrease allowing more to be done in-house by the companies themselves. Still this also raises the cost, transfers more liability, and challenges the cost of insurance due to all the unknowns with these changes. Okay so, let’s talk because this is what is happening here in the US, but we also have companies importing food products from other countries and they don’t have near the level of scrutiny.

One book about China and their challenges with food safety noted that only 1% of all the cargo containers of food coming from China are inspected, but of that one percent 60% is rejected while the rest gets through, thus it enters our food supply chain for human consumption.

On October 12, 2012 there was an news story on the Associated Press, and another one in Business Week on October 11, 2012 titled; “Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers,” by Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and William Bi. The real problem here is that there is only one US FDA office in all of China, so, you can see the problem, but this particular problem was found in Vietnam.

Additionally, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on September 17, 2012 titled, “Cattle Inspectors Fear Going to Mexico” by Ana Campoy which stated that the Mexican Cattlemen had opened a state-of-the-art inspection facility, but unfortunately the US veterinarians fear traveling to Mexico to go to the complex.” Again, you can see the challenges, the need for armed security and inspectors saying; I didn’t sign up for this to risk my life to check out cows in drug-cartel territory.

If the United States is going to provide health coverage for those who cannot afford it and then give them food stamps to buy food in the grocery store, then shouldn’t they ensure the food is safe to eat first? Well, I dare to ask the question. Of course this is not the only question I care to raise or the biggest concern I have. I want to know; is the food in our grocery stores safe to eat, and can we trust the government and the FDA to protect us? I truly feel that the answer is no, and that my friends is a scary thought. Therefore, I ask that you please consider all this and think on it.

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