Food safety regulation is the battleground today for more partisan one step forward, nine-tenths of a step back governance. President Obama is due to sign the food safety bill which passed out of Congress last month with with bipartisan support.
At the same time, though, Representative Jack Kingston (R) (Georgia) is talking of curtailing the funding necessary for FDA to put the law into effect. According to the AP, Kingston stated: "I think we’ll look very carefully at the funding before we support $1.4 billion, our food supply is 99.999 percent safe." Kingston may become chairman of the agriculture subcommittee of the House panel that helps spend the government’s money.
Kingston’s view is typically short sighted. Foodborne illness costs the U.S. tens of billions of dollars every year – costs borne by government, industry, and individuals alike. There is little logic in being unwilling to spend a fraction of that, especially with lives at stake. It is worth noting that many in the food industry supported the passage of the bill.