Monday, September 25, 2006

Great Moments in Bureaucrat History (today)

USA Today has a good article on the recent E coli outbreak “Safety advocates, growers debate produce rules” pg 4A. (Sorry couldn’t find article to link it)

Seems there isn’t an answer on how, or even where the E. coli bacteria on lettuce came from yet. They’ve narrowed it down to three farms in California. Growers are trying to figure how and why, along with packers.

Some such as Caroline Smith Dewaal, Safety Director for Center of Science in the Public Interest, are calling to implement strong mandatory procedures like there are in the beef industry. The problem is the beef industry figured out the causes first; the growers and packers of lettuce and spinach have not.

Tim Chelling, a spokesman for Western Growers, is quoted as saying “We’re not doing any kind of knee-jerk reaction to any proposals at this point”. I hope not, what if the action taken actually makes it worse?

Jerry Gillespie of Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at the University of California-Davis, “We want the industry to do things better. But when it comes time to tell them what’s “better” is, it’s very difficult, because we’re not quite sure what they’re doing wrong.”

The FDA weighed in on this in a letter last November, “Claims that ‘we cannot take action until we know the cause’ are unacceptable”. This same agent that signed the memo was later heard saying “Damn it Doctor, I don’t care if you don’t know what’s wrong with me, operate!".

In other news; “Publishers seek recourse after audit slams federal reading program” pg 5A:

Federal officials mismanaged the Reading First program, forcing schools to buy materials the administration favored, including a few to which federal advisers had financial ties.

The FDA agent who survived surgery was transferred to the Education Department, were he was overheard saying, “Damn it, I don’t care if the books are useless, buy them!

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