Can you afford food tasters to make sure what we’re about to eat is actually safe?

People who eat food are screwed. Giant, transnational agribusiness corporation Cargill announced yesterday that it is recalling 36 million pounds of contaminated ground turkey – that has killed at least one person and sickened 76 others across 26 states. Cargill is just now announcing the recall even though the outbreak started back in March. Coincidentally – back in June – House Republicans passed legislation that gutted the federal food safety budget – slashing $87 million from the FDA – and another $35 million from the USDA’s food safety inspection programs.

As Republican Congressman Jack Kingston said in defending the bill, “the food supply in America is very safe because the private sector polices itself.” Right – go tell that to the family of the person who died or the scores sickened from Cargill’s contaminated turkey. Or tell it to the other 50 MILLION Americans who get sick from food-borne illness every year – or the 3,000 other Americans who die every year because of contaminated food.

Unlike millionaires and billionaires who fund the Republican Party and push for libertarian legislation that does away with food safety – the rest of us can’t afford food tasters to make sure what we’re about to eat is actually safe.


n8chz's picture
n8chz 12 years 46 weeks ago

A more relevant question for these dark times: Will I be able to make a living in something other than food testing of this type?

thegroup 12 years 46 weeks ago

So, any question about who is in charge in DC? We have a

checkthefaqs's picture
checkthefaqs 12 years 46 weeks ago

Does anyone seriously think the Government is capable of efficiently managing such a task? Give me a break ... the FDA knew about this weeks ago and did nothing to report it or warn the public.Government is largely wasteful and inefficient. And directing more tax payer money into the government to fund food tasters of raw turkey meat will not solve the problem. Imagine a world where government owned all the meat packing plants. SOEs (state-owned enterprise) are proven to be highly ineffiecient and ineffective at innovation or protecting the public. There is no incentive for any government industry to do well.

Berry's picture
Berry 12 years 46 weeks ago

Don't worry , Monsanto will feed us. Monsanto is here to help. Monsanto brings you farm wars ~ Pitting farmer against farmer , two vide'o's included ~

louisehartmann's picture
louisehartmann 12 years 46 weeks ago

Govt works when it's well funded. I'll take the green eye shades over corporate greed any day - when it comes to protecting US & the commons. No one is asking the the Govt to own the meat packing plants - come on!

BJones's picture
BJones 12 years 46 weeks ago

Just don't eat the turkey.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 12 years 46 weeks ago

bad enough acouple years back someone stole my holiday bird and i lost a job over it, now come thanksgiving i think i'll just pass on the bird. man they just keep makin' the holidays worse!

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 12 years 46 weeks ago

corporations police themselves? just remember when its all privatized then you will have truly lost your right to vote as they screw more and more people just to keep the markets rolling and dividends comin' in. seriously, when was the last time you got to vote for the board of directors.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 46 weeks ago

Tea party and republican congressmen can taste test all of our country's food.

chef dude's picture
chef dude 12 years 46 weeks ago

I am amazed how much some people trust big business to police themselves. Our Food Safety Program is necessary to keep business honest. First of all we really owe alot to Nasa as the food safety of Astronauts helped to formulate our current system. Perhaps if more people knew how much the space program has affected our lifes more people would not want it to fade. Our current food safety system relies on HACCP {Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points} this ensures food temperature controls and other critical thresholds are met throughout a foods production to ensure it is safe and wholesome. Nasa developed it to ensure the Astornauts mission was not affected by food borne illness.

This system is now in place in food production from the farm where it is produced to the plate when it is consumed. This system requires evreyone involved to met critical criteria to ensure the food is safe. Part of the process requires inspections by the Heath Dept, and Food inspectors at every level local, state, and federal. This inspection regulates every food serving operation to ensure their customers safety. It requires so many levels due to number and scope of the businesses they inspect.I was regularly inspected 2 times per year. I take pride in my career and tried to do my best to maintain the standards. I can only tell you this type of outbreak is serious and we should sweep our ability to prevent outbreaks away with the stroke of a new bill entrusting big business to be their own police, as history has shown us this does not work.

Today Thom mentioned the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I suggest everyone who hasn't read it to do so, just keep a barf bag near you.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 12 years 46 weeks ago

"The Jungle" got it. Hey by the way, you ever buy some really good looking, nice red and juicy 10% ground sirloin, get it home, open it up, toss it in the sizzle and as you mash it apart with the spat you notice that that beautiful nice red yummy good looking grip of ground you thought you had is more a tinge of brown and the red stuff was probably just some fresh thrown over it and a different date put on it to get it off the shelf. hmm, makes one wonder. Just make sure you smell the meat!

r4house's picture
r4house 12 years 46 weeks ago

Here's and idea. Read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. Opened my eyes to the Industrial Food system...and alternatives. Cargill's ground turkey has other, healthier competitors.

I read "The Jungle" in high school. Great muckraking. Always good to be presented with the excesses of rampant greed.

chef dude's picture
chef dude 12 years 46 weeks ago

I have been fortunate to live on our planet for 47 + years, I have bounced back and forth living a Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyle. As I gain wisdom I am shfting back from an omnivore diet and I am eliminating meat and animal products once again. I can appreciate the many forms of food that make up our planets diet. I understand our Freedom to choose to eat whatever is within our means to obtain.I am chosing to remove "86" meat off my menu. I do so to reduce my own personal impact on our planet.

I have made a living cooking everything from Foie Gras, Kobe Beef and Truffles. I look at our Mother and I see she needs our help to feed others. Not help from Monsanto or Bayer who want to alter the Genetic Structure of our food forever changing the genetic makeup of plants. Who take over seed companies to force feed their poison on our struggling farmers, who grow the grain to feed the Animal Factories; Cargill and Archer Midlands to name a few. The tainted meat bombarded with antibiotics and force fed a diet of Genetically Modified Organisms; corn, soy and animal waste is then sold to provide for the needs of a corporate food system satisfying consumer demands through industry and retail markets.

Now the meat is blended into your processed food. You buy it often without thinking everytime you go through a drive thru, buy a steak , or eat out at a fine dining restaurant. The FDA is important. Food Safety is no joke. We see how many have died or suffered from a food borne illness. Ecoli on spinach or tomatoes, Salmonella on turkey our food system needs people inspecting and educating the producers and processors at all levels. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? If there were no police would everyone follow the posted speed limits or other traffic laws? I don't think we can afford not to regulate our food system. Besides it provides jobs for scientists, teachers, inspectors along the way ensuring our safety and supporting our communities.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 46 weeks ago

I ate turkey burgers I fried about a week and a half ago and used a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the centers. I had thought the recommended temperature was supposed to be 180 degrees F. It was 183 degrees F. (the recommended temperature is over 165 degrees F.) I like to really cook my turkey or chicken really well and didn't want to take any chances. I have always been very much aware of the danger of uncooked meat, especially chicken or turkey, and about the dangers of I have been very careful. This was before any mention of the contamination problem. I came down with a really bad case of Montezuma's revenge about a few days after the turkey. I had thought I had cleaned up very well after handling the raw meat...but, who knows...maybe I missed s spot of contamination. I have since thoroughly cleaned everything with a mixture of Lysol and Clorox and water.

I found out, as everyone now knows...maybe...that this is a very strong and resilient strain of bacteria that resists antibiotics. Oh, Great Scott!

I agree that our government should be...and could be (if it weren't for the corruption pressures brought to bear on it by greedy corporations). Now, my question is what are they going to do with so much contaminated turkey? Are they going to dump it on another country? Are they going to turn right around and repackage it and try again with the American public? Will they first try to kill the bacteria through radiation or other means? One thing for sure is that the price of turkey will go up...the people constantly pay for the greedy mistakes that are made by a profit hungry corporation.

Why did the FDA not catch this before it went to the market? Is is because of the little manpower the FDA now has, and the political pressure to let slide corporate terrorism loose upon the country? While taxpayer dollars are wasted on killing people in the Middle East...other taxpayer dollars are squandered on effete government bureaucracies whose hands are either padded with payola or are tied by political stupidity and corruption. And all we get is a PR "oh, we're so sorry" coupled with a blurb on "well you have to be very careful and do this or do that...insinuating that they just can't hold everyone's hands and the consumer need to be more responsible themselves. I'll bet the CEO and other execs at Cargil won't take a hit on bonuses or perks but they sure will make the consumer absorb the cost of their stupid and careless mistakes.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 46 weeks ago

You can't even eat Jello without eating animal products. I understand that the jell is made of the hoofs of cows and horses.

I have not eaten any other meat except fish, turkey, and chicken for over 10-15 years now. I got turned off from eating beef and pork when the MAD COW DISEASE was an issue. I reasoned that CJD (the human form of the disease that one gets from eating BSE contaminated beef) would eat holes in your brain and there is nothing any medical doctor could do to cure or prevent it). You'd die, eventually, of severe shakes.loss of motor Parkinsons. And there was absolutely no way to destroy it before eating it. You couldn't cook it...or even burn it to ash in order to kill it...because it is not alive to begin is a protein.

So, now we have an antibiotic resistant bacteria that can kill you. The government says you have to take certain precautions in cooking and handling. Well, that is still not as bad as Mad Cow Disease...which you can't do anything about. The only safeguard you have is the FDA...but just how well can you trust them to protect you? So, I opted long ago not to take any chances. Problem is that even if you are a vegan...even vegetables get contaminated with bacteria. I guess we always have to take certain chances when we eat...but it's beginning to look like you'd be a lot safer growing your own garden...except, of course if the rain contains radioactive isotopes from breached nuclear power plants.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 46 weeks ago

Yes, The Jungle was a good novel...and Upton Sinclair was right on!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 12 years 46 weeks ago

Yes I have to admit I'm one of the people that eats food but at least won't get screwed by my Mac apple and Bartlett pear trees, for early Aug. they're looking great. My last culinary experience with turkey was in the manner of nuking turkey bacon until it gets so dry its like the consistency of those soy bacon bits people put on their salad. I'm more than confident nothing is alive as I wolf down a couple of BLT's.

I agree with Louise Govt. agencies like the USDA work well when funded well and it's employees are your neighbors who buy things and pay taxes and are not part of some out of control socialist agenda like the Kochs and their pant-load party want us all to believe...... Not bad, only one name calling tonight!

dianhow 12 years 46 weeks ago

GOP TEA Baggers demand deep CUTS in Medicare ..the EPA clean water - air FDA - food safety Our kids Education cut the Disabled sick / old on medicaid- NO one is IMMUNE EXcept HUGE CORPS / BILLIONAIRES - LOOPHOLES- SUBSIDES ROBBER BARONS of 21 st Century .rule . Tea BAGGERS are pushing for ANOTHER 1900'S ' GILDED AGE ' WHEN SUPER WEALTHY CONTROLLED US ALL. We are almost there Reaganomics deregulation debt amnesty for cheap illegal;s labor- Bush Cheney GOP Paulson global crash Gift horse to Wall St AIG 4 page TARP w/ NO safeguards for taxpayers money. We are peasants we are the real servents Public Servants do not vote their own raises- stop paying taxes- get generous pensions - perks after few years of 'work' travel the globe ,takes private plaines Baggers are trying to destroy USA as we knew it Fight Speak out now demand whats right for familes, kids, workers, womens rights, low and mid income seniors who paid for SS Many paid double SS tax as I did for 30 yrs Its NOT welfare COrps Banks & Wall ST got the massive Corp welfare Thats how Tea Baggers want it !! Then they screwed us royal        

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 46 weeks ago

Good story, RichardofJeffersonCity!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 46 weeks ago

Al Gore, on Keith Olbermann show 8/4/11, says that the US needs to have it's own "Arab Spring"..peaceful...of course..he says.

A Vast Cyberterrorist Attack on the US? Yes and we've had a vast Economic Terrorist Attack by insider Economic Terrorists. I'm wondering, since this so-called Cyberterrorist attack has been going on for 5 years, penetrating something like 80 US companies and the government...will they use this as an excuse for why the government won't be able to cover FDIC when all of the banks, all of a sudden, tell us that they've been hacked and our money is in Litheuania or someplace? And too bad...but we will have to take yet another hit because the rich, only, get their bailouts but the rest of us will have to do without?

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 46 weeks ago

What do I think? I think FDR was deliberately infected with Polio-

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 12 years 46 weeks ago

The Seals of Seagull Bay !

A group of seals banded together long ago on a distant sea at place called Seagull Bay. The Seals of Seagull Bay had decided to get together to solve the shark problem lurking in their feeding grounds. The sharks were killing off a lot of their friends and family and making life in general pretty miserable for the seal population. The Seals of Seagull Bay decided to start a Safety Committee to gather ideas and resources to combat the shark problem.

The safety officials who would sit on the committee were elected by the democratic process of popular vote and would be given the responsibility of protecting the Seals of Seagull Bay. The committee was set and after period of deliberation and debate the committed come up with the solution to the shark problems. The Safety Committee decided some members of the seal population would become security officers and do nothing but lookout for sharks while the rest of the seals of Seagull Bay would fish. Since the security officer seals wouldn’t have time to fish while their brethren hunted for food the other seals would provide the security seals with six fish a day to pay for a secure hunting ground.

This was so successful in cutting down shark fatalities and injuries at Seagull Bay other groups of seals started to copy the Seagull Bay model of security. Meanwhile, a group of supply side economic seals got together at an exclusive summer retreat called K Street Island. They suggested that The seals of Seagull Bay hire a private company to take over the security for Seagull Bay to take care of the shark problem that already been solved.

The K Street Seals claimed their client Seal Safe LLC could cut the cost of fish down to half the amount they paid now and provide even better security. The Seals of Seagull Bay couldn’t believe their ears. They were doing well with their current security but there was still some injuries and occasional unfortunate death. The K Street Seals guaranteed that no Seal would be killed if they hired their private company to secure the feeding grounds.

A lot of the Seals of Seagull Bay said this was a “No Brainer” a term that the K Street Seals kept repeating during their presentation to the Safety Committee. But other Seals of Seagull Bay suggested they should just stay with their current arrangement and try to improve upon what they already done. The committee of twelve members was deadlocked in a 6 to 6 tie. One of the K Street Seals visited the house of one of the Safety Committee members who was opposed to the hiring of their private company. The next day the committee member sporting a new gold Rolex fin watch that was visited by the K Street Seal changed his vote giving the K Street Seals private company a two year contract to handle the security for Seagull Bay.

Soon after taking over the security at Seagull Bay Seal Safe laid-off half of the security force and cut the remaining security officers pay by two thirds. The security officers complained that they could not feed their families on two fish a day. The company suggested they ask the Safety Committee to subsidize their fish payment because the company had to downsize to run more efficiently. As a result of cutting the security force shark attacks increased.

The Seals of Seagull Bay outraged by the increase shark attacks under the security of Seal Safe LLC demanded answers. Seal Safe sent a company Executive to help smooth over and explain the new security policies. The angry seals listen to the company Exec explain “The Company did not adjust for the recent fish inflation. The value of fish has fallen by 60% in last quarter. We have to wait for the invisible fin of the Free Market to correct itself.” The Exec continued “The bottom line is we’ve come to secure these hunting grounds at all cost. We realize that each seal life is important and need to be protected. We have asked the Safety Committee to give Seal Safe a slight revenue adjust of 40% to help cover the cost of increased security measures.”

The committee members now all wearing golden Rolex fin watches unanimously agreed to the revenue increase. Seal Safe in addition to receiving an increase in revenue started offering three protection packages for the Seals of Seagull Bay. The three different packages called tiers offered different levels of protection Tier 1 the economy pack offered limited protection against shark attacks offering an one hour course on “Individual Responsibility” and a Seal Safe whistle with the company logo costing a mere eight fish a day. Tier 2 the Seal Safe Enhanced Protection Pack offers both the course on “Individual Responsibility” and the Seal Safe Whistle with company logo, but also Seal Safe’s patented Shark Alert Flash Light with company logo for the middle of the road cost of 14 fish a day. Tier 3 the Cadillac package combines all the safety measures of the other packages with state of the art anti-shark swim suit with company logo. Made out of a hundred percent titanium steel guaranteed to protect against shark attacks but not drowning for the cost of 100 fish a day.

The Seals of Seagull Bay now furious with Seal Safe demand that the Safety Committee end their agreement with Seal Safe for breach of contract. The Safety Committee said their fins were tied because the contract agreement they signed gave Seal Safe the exclusive right to take all the fish out of Seagull Bay if the agreement wasn’t satisfactory to the Seals of Seagull Bay. The Seals of Seagull Bay were clearly not satisfied with their agreement with Seal Safe. The Seals of Seagull Bay refused to accept the terms of the contract with Seal Safe and decided to boycott the company.

Seal Safe board of directors enraged that the Seals of Seagull Bay were not honoring their contract hired Killer Whales to break the boycott and to protect all the fish they owned in the hunting grounds of Seagull Bay. The Safety Committee with their golden Rolex fin watches called for the two sides to negotiate, but it was too late the Seal Safe LLC had sold its fish rights of Seagull Bay to the K Street Seals new client a company owned by sharks called Seal Killers Inc. THE END

Berry's picture
Berry 12 years 46 weeks ago

Rawesome Food Raid > for a laugh Colbert Report > Rawesome food raid >>

ecooper62's picture
ecooper62 12 years 46 weeks ago

It's long past time to get even with the Koch them out of office.

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