While government discredits raw milk, it keeps names of salmonella outbreak restaurants secret to protect corporate profits

Monday, February 06, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: salmonella, outbreaks, restaurants

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(NaturalNews) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is getting increasingly bold these days with openly admitting that it works directly for big industry interests rather than public health interests. In a recent report on why the agency did not disclose Taco Bell as being the "Mexican-style" restaurant chain involved in a recent salmonella outbreak, the FDA essentially admitted that it is more concerned with upholding a close-knit relationship with big industry players like Taco Bell than it is with being transparent and telling the truth for the public interest.

Last fall, at least 68 people in ten states were infected with salmonella poisoning from food sold at an undisclosed Mexican-style restaurant chain, according to an FDA announcement. At least 20 of these people became so ill that they had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment, and yet, the entire time, the FDA refused to disclose the name of the chain, which was later uncovered to be Taco Bell.

Any rational person can see that disclosing such information is not only pertinent and beneficial to public health efforts, but also a necessity if the information itself is to have any benefit or reason for being announced in the first place. But the FDA disagrees, having told ABC News in a recent interview that the agency often does not disclose this crucial information for fear that "it could have the effect of discouraging ... cooperation between our agencies and the food industry."

What this really means, of course, is that the FDA places a higher priority on catering to its special interests, which in this case includes fast food restaurant chains like Taco Bell, than it does to protecting public health. Obviously the public has a right to know if a major food producer is even potentially selling food that is tainted with harmful bacteria, despite what the FDA claims about the situation.

And yet if this same salmonella outbreak had been in any way linked to raw milk, you can be sure the name of the company involved would have been prematurely published far and wide, even if said outbreak later turned out not to have anything to do with raw milk. This is exactly what happened to Organic Pastures Dairy in California back in December when regulators illegitimately framed the company and shut down its business indefinitely (http://www.naturalnews.com).

Regulators know that naming companies can be used as a weapon to destroy their businesses

When responding to why it did not name Taco Bell as the salmonella offender in the outbreak last fall, the FDA declared that the situation was no longer a hazard, and that disclosing it was not necessary. And one of the FDA's allies expressed a key opinion in the matter that has huge implications for why the agency so heavily attacks small farmers and raw milk dairies.

"In any restaurant after the outbreak is over ... the only thing to gain from giving out the name of the restaurant is that it would lose business," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University about the FDA's policy of withholding company names during outbreaks.

This admission illustrates very clearly that the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others know that naming companies severely hurts the businesses involved. This is why these agencies so often name companies allegedly linked to raw milk outbreaks, even before actually showing any evidence that there might be a connection.

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