Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 7:41 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 3.

North Carolina’s junior senator, Republican Thom Tillis, says he’s just fine with NOT requiring food workers to wash up after visiting the restroom. Remind me never to shake his hand.

English majors, rejoice! Harper Lee will publish a sequel to her 1960 masterpiece, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” on July 14.

Standard & Poors, the investment ratings agency whose labeling of crap mortgage-backed securities as investment-grade helped blow up the economy a few years ago, will pay $1.38 billion to settle those allegations. But — say it with me, kids — once again, no criminal charges against anyone.

The New York Times asks an incredibly stupid question about how anti-vaxxers got so much influence. Athenae at First Draft delivers a righteous dopeslapping of an answer.

Y’all have a good evening.

Friday, May 29, 2009 9:24 pm

Safer food on the way?

Filed under: Reality: It works — Lex @ 9:24 pm
Tags: ,

Let’s hope so:

The nation’s complex food supply chain would become more transparent, inspections of food facilities would become more frequent and manufacturers would be required to take steps aimed at preventing food-borne illnesses under legislation proposed [Wednesday] by key House leaders who have pledged to modernize the food safety system.

The bill, introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), would give the Food and Drug Administration broad new enforcement tools, including the authority to recall tainted food, the ability to “quarantine” suspect food, and the power to impose civil penalties and increased criminal sanctions on violators.

Among other things, the proposal would put greater responsibility on growers, manufacturers and food handlers by requiring them to identify contamination risks, document the steps they take to prevent them and provide those records to federal regulators. The legislation also would allow the FDA to require private laboratories used by food manufacturers to report the detection of pathogens in food products directly to the government.

“This is a major step forward,” said Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety at the Pew Charitable Trusts. “This has really been needed for decades. We’re still operating under a food and drug law signed by Teddy Roosevelt.”

Here’s some pithy perspective on the issue:

Rick Perlstein coined the wonderful phrase “e. coli conservatism“. We’ve been living with, and in some cases dying from, e. coli conservatism for years. It’s nice to know that we’re getting back to serious food safety liberalism, which, frankly, ought to be just plain common sense, and perfectly acceptable to any conservatives who care about a strong defense. After all, food-borne illness kills about 2,000 more people every year than died on 9/11; why we should spend over half a trillion dollars a year defending ourselves against human invaders while leaving ourselves open to bacteria that are every bit as lethal is a mystery that passeth all understanding.

I got e. coli food poisoning once, about 15 years ago. At the time, I was in about the best shape of my adult life, and I still thought I was going to die (even though I know that, eventually, I’d probably have gotten better even without treatment). I can see how the disease could be even more dangerous to children, the elderly or those with chronic health problems. Food safety should, indeed, be something that liberals and conservatives can simply agree on as common sense.

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