Please see the article from Bites, below, thanks again to Doug Powell at Kansas State.
Where are our US public health scientists when food safety/public health regulatory agencies get in a corner? They just do not show up on the scene to take a stand against the political pressure from industry. The US public health science community appears co-opted, fractured, isolated in thier institutions and totally oblivious to these challenges. US Public health scientists when they are interested in food get their grants and quietly do their research in less controversial areas such as diet, nutrition, and security and are basically not heard when it comes to food safety. They rarely provide credibility to the need for public health protection.
We saw this in Florida last month when the state legislature abolished public health protection programs for our most vulnerable populations, we saw no support for public health, not the media, the medical community, not the universities and its scientists, and not the consumer. It seems nobody is outraged when Florida nursing homes, childcare centers and hospitals lose public health protection programs. Our agencies over here are sitting ducks for the industry who uses their political fire power through lobbies to shoot them down, because food safety rules require effort and expense and interfere with business.
Here in the UK, amazingly, we have a food industry trade group correcting the Guardian for supporting the de-regulation of the food industry and standing up for food safety! And a respected sceintist speaking out!
Congratulations, at least they are putting up a fight.
UK: We will all be losers if the FSA is abolished
Melanie Leech, Director general, Food and Drink Federation, writes that contrary to your article (Victory for food firms as safety watchdog axed, 12 July), we understand that no decision has been made about the future of the Food Standards Agency. Your story claimed that food manufacturers had been lobbying to close down the FSA. However, as the voice of UK food and drink manufacturing, the Food and Drink Federation has consistently supported the need for an independent, well-funded food safety regulator. The FSA has been highly effective in this role in the 10 years since its creation, not least in ensuring that consumer confidence in the food we eat has grown significantly. Were its independent role to be abolished, neither the industry nor the consumers would be the winners.
Jon Poole, Chief executive, Institute of Food Science & Technology, writes the demise of the FSA would be regarded by many as a loss – including the food industry itself. The Institute of Food Science & Technology, an independent professional body, has seen the FSA working closely with the industry over the past few years. The adversarial style of relationship suggested in your reports is neither accurate nor helpful. During its existence, the FSA has provided coherent strategy and direction on issues such as reductions in saturated fat and salt and in food-borne diseases such as campylobacter in chicken, as well as regulating food business operators. These are all still live issues and the functions of the FSA, in whatever form, will continue to be needed in the future. Very few in the sector would see its break-up as a positive step.