FROM Caroline Smith DeWaal
Egg Safety, Animal Rights and Industrial Farming Yesterday, FDA inspectors reported filthy conditions at the two Iowa mega-farms that have recalled a half billion eggs because of a national outbreak of salmonella . The irony is that the FDA had no regulations for egg safety until last month.
Egg Safety, Animal Rights and Industrial Farming Two massive egg farms thought responsible for a nationwide outbreak of salmonella were never inspected by federal agencies or the State of Iowa. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration finally adopted egg regulations . Yesterday, FDA inspectors reported filthy conditions at the two Iowa mega-farms that have recalled a half billion eggs because of the salmonella outbreak: barns pock-marked with holes chewed by rodents; chickens and mice crawling up manure piles eight feet high; innumerable flies and maggots. What are the consequences for food safety and animal rights? Are there cleaner, more humane methods of producing cheap eggs for millions of consumers?
This Time It's Peanuts: Food Scares and Food Production In the largest food recall in US history, more than eighteen hundred products containing peanuts have been pulled from grocery shelves. A salmonella contamination in peanuts has been linked to nine deaths and six hundred illnesses. The outbreak is the latest in a long line of food scares. What went wrong at the Georgia processing plant that shipped peanuts that the owner knew were contaminated? Is the Food and Drug Administration doing enough to make sure food is safe? How do laws affect what we eat? Does the system itself need to be overhauled?
Farm Labor, Immigration and Food Security A federal judge gave US employers--including farmers--a temporary reprieve yesterday, saying one immigration enforcement strategy might do irreparable harm to both business and labor. So-called " no match " Social Security letters will not be sent to employers after all, at least for the next few months. But planting, cultivating and harvesting have been seriously disrupted by the crackdown on illegal workers. In Colorado, restrictive new state laws deny all but essential services to undocumented workers, and some of the fields are being worked by prison inmates. In California, some farmers have already moved to Mexico. Why can't legal workers take up the slack? Is it only about cheap labor? What about the reliability and safety of the food supply?
Contamination Now Concern for Human Food Supply The Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture acknowledge that some of the pet food imported from China and contaminated with the chemical melamine was fed to some 6000 hogs in the United States. About 50 people in California are thought to have eaten pork from animals that consumed contaminated feed. Cats and dogs have been killed by such feed, but there's no evidence that it's damaged pigs or humans. In a joint statement , the FDA and USDA say that even if it got into the food supply, there's a "very low" likelihood that melamine will affect human health. Nevertheless, Caroline Smith DeWaal says the Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging a ban on imported grain from China.
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?
'Do-or-die' time on healthcare bill President Trump has demanded a House vote today on replacing Obamacare…whatever the details might be. Despite his campaign promise that nobody would lose health insurance, that's possible for 24 million people if he were finally to sign this bill into law.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?