Friday, July 20, 2007

The Politics of Food Safety

The recent US bans on some Chinese food products has brought the issue of food safety to the forefront. The following videos take a close look at the political issues involving food safety in the US. This is not just a China-US trade issue. Since we all live in a global community we all must ask ourselves just how much we know about the products that we are consuming.

This week Lou Dobbs has done several segments on the efforts by food lobbyists to weaken or do away with the "country of origin" food labeling law. He also clearly points out lax the US government has been in enforcing food safety laws.

Here is an excerpt from the July 18, 2007, Lou Dobb's Tonight broadcast transcript:

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DOBBS: We have been reporting on this broadcast for years on the need for country-of-origin labels, enacted into law, in fact, more than four years ago, but never enforced.

President Bush today, well, created a government panel, high- level panel, to ensure the safety of food and other products coming into this country, the White House said. The administration denies this plan is aimed primarily at China, despite the recent series of dangerous imports from China.

The creation of this new panel comes as existing federal agencies are fighting cutbacks and doing very little to protect American consumers. The Food and Drug Administration is planning in fact to close seven of its 13 laboratories. You can see why we need a high- level panel to look into all of this.

And the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been without a permanent chairman for about a year. The appointment of this new panel comes at a time when we are all increasingly concerned about the safety of the food we eat and the products we are buying, the imports from all around the world.

A Consumers Union poll fact in fact shows 92 percent of Americans want to know where their food comes from. Now, there's a law on the books that calls for country-of-origin labeling of meats and other foods. But implementation has been delayed because of pressure from special interest groups, food industry lobbyists, and others.

We first reported on this issue almost four years ago. And, as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, the lobbyists, well, they are still trumping the public interest.

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Read the full transcript of the broadcast at:

View a clip of the broadcast:

Thanks to friends at YouTube who are also watching this issue here are two other videos.

The following video is from the Center for Science in the Public Interest on the PBS Newshour.

Critical problems with food imports from China

and finally

from the Center for American Progress Associate Director for International Economic Policy Jonathan Jacoby joined CNBC to discuss US-Chinese trade relations and the growing role of China on the world stage. 5/14/07

For more on the US Trade Deficit please see:
Ideas fuel progress The Center for American Progress

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