My mother was an early follower of Adele Davis. She later became a nurse, after a first career as a stay-at-home-mom, and is always on the lookout for news in the field. She knows the history of the FDA and events in the 50’s and 60’s. She sent me this recent article on melamine from the NYT:
Our Home-Grown Melamine Problem
By JAMES E. McWILLIAMS
Published: November 17, 2008
[…For all the outrage about Chinese melamine, what American consumers and government agencies have studiously failed to scrutinize is how much melamine has pervaded our own food system. In casting stones, we’ve forgotten that our own house has more than its share of exposed glass….]
For me, health and nutrition are political issues. The nutrition, or “food” police of our country are represented by the United States Department of Agriculture Department (USDA), and The Health and Human Services Department, (HHS), of which the FDA is a part. A look at the wide ranging responsibilities of the two departments, in the word links above, will give you an idea of their scope.
If Tom Daschle is confirmed as head of the HHS, then the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) will be under his care. The FDA is charged with regulating Drugs, medical devices, biologics, blood and vaccines, animal and veterinary care, cosmetics, radiation emitting products, combination products (with biologics) and finally, food.
A look a their page entitled “FDA’s Growing Responsibilities for the Year 2001 and Beyond” will give you an idea of what they have been struggling with against a global economy. This is a prime example of how we have not paid full freight for our global economy. We sought the cheapest at whatever cost and pretended that others were doing the work. Those others included drug companies policing themselves, providers of food imports from countries of uncertain inspection, and local marketers for whom the honest desire to self-police had to be weighed against the recall and legal costs.
Just the FDA’s chart is illuminating.
The reality is, that despite their efforts, we are in an uncertain land when it comes to ensuring our foodstuffs. Educate yourself. If you never read John and Teresa Heinz Kerry’s book, entitled, “This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future” take the time soon.
I know a lot of PUMA’S myself included, have some issues with the Kerry’s. However, environment and sustenance are things we have in common. Read Al Gore’s book, “The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Fear, Secrecy, and Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision Making, Degrade Our Democracy, and Put Our Country and Our World in Peril”.
Educate yourself. These two departments are most important. Who runs them and how are vital to us. Can they meet our needs? Let’s assure that they do, and in the mean time, learn ways to safeguard your personal food supply.
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