It looks like one state, at least, is getting on the food safety bandwagon. In the wake of the peanut-linked salmonella outbreak, Georgia is changing its reporting and inspection laws. It addresses one aspect of this whole food safety matter that troubles me about any food safety laws at any level--providing adequate funds and personnel to do the job. The proposed Georgia law will allow inspectors to beef up their ranks by 'deputizing' assistants as needed. Good start.
I did look at the text of H.R. 875 a couple of days ago. I don't think, from my reading, that the bill goes as far as the blogger I linked to thinks and would, potentially, outlaw backyard gardening for individual consumption. However, I do think it would devastate local and organic growers by burdening them with extra costs. Local Harvest asks some very pertinent questions about government efforts (in other proposed bills) to track domestic animals. I have several problems with this spate of laws. One, they fail to address the major problem of the last 8 years--a Presidential administration philosophically opposed to even reasonable regulation of any industry. The FDA had neither the personnel nor the funds to adequately do their legally mandated job and no incentive to do it well. No matter what laws are passed, we may, in the future, find ourself in a similar position. Second, these proposals are akin to using a shot gun to kill a fly. They will do a lot of damage but none to the target. Third, they extend the Federal government into areas that could be more efficiently handled on a local level. I do agree that Federal laws and agencies should be overhauled and made more efficient. But the focus should be on adequate staffing, adequate funds, and on the interstate traffic in food products. The commercial farms/feedlots that produce animals and plants for interstate traffic should come under the Federal mandate. A last concern, after 9/11 we responded almost hysterically. The result has been billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost (tens of thousands of lives blighted) in a needless war in Iraq, a shredded Constitution, and a dysfunctional Federal Government. Much of what I have read on the food safety matter smacks of a similar hysteria.
Chris In Paris at Americablog has a link to a CNBC story that forecasts as many as 20k jobs lost in the hedge fund industry. As I read that my mind went back to the news last yesterday afternoon. CNBC noted that AT&T (I think it was) is planning to hire 3000 new employees in its wireless division this year. Then the commentator glided over the fact that they still planned to cut 12,000 jobs in it land line divisions. Net loss 9000. But the focus is on the 'good' news. I have seen a lot of that grasping at straws lately.