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Originally published December 19 2006

"Fast Food Nation" author pushes for new food safety agency

by Jessica Fraser

(NaturalNews) According to Eric Schlosser, author of the best-selling book "Fast Food Nation," the U.S. food industry should be regulated by a single food safety agency with the authority to test foods, issue recalls and punish companies that violate food safety rules.

Schlosser called for both parties to support the Safe Food Act of 2005, introduced last year by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. If passed, the bill would consolidate a number of federal agencies involved in the current food safety system.

"The government's food safety system is under-financed, poorly organized and more concerned with serving private interests than with protecting public health," Schlosser said.

The Safe Food Act would consolidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Each branch is currently responsible for a different aspect of the safety of the nation's food supply, but according to Schlosser, the Safe Food Act would "eliminate petty bureaucratic rivalries and make a single administrator accountable for the safety of America's food.

"And it would facilitate a swift, effective response not only to the sort of inadvertent outbreaks that have occurred this fall, but also to any deliberate bioterrorism aimed at our food supply," he said.

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "Grocery Warning," said the biggest threats to food safety are not microbiological, but rather chemical additives food companies knowingly add to foods.

"The cancer-causing additives added to foods, combined with dangerous ingredients like hydrogenated oils, kill far more people than bacteriological contamination," Adams said. "If we really wanted to make foods safer, we could do it right now by banning deadly ingredients from the U.S. food supply.

"But federal regulators, who are corrupted by financial ties to food and drug corporations, consistently make decisions in favor of the private sector while ignoring the health implications on the American public," he said.

Under the current food safety system, 76 million Americans are sickened every year from foods they ate, while 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die, Schlosser said.


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