Food Safety

Food Safety

The first federal pure food laws were passed in response to Upton Sinclair’s 1906 expose of slaughterhouses in Chicago and growing concerns about the safety of “adulterated” food. Food borne illnesses still break out with some frequency. Recent cases of poisonings from salmonella and E.Coli bacteria have created enough momentum for Congress in late 2010 to pass the most significant update of our food safety laws since 1938. Food safety in the United States is overseen by a number of governmental organizations, the most prominent of which is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are many efforts in cities and states to improve nutrition and calorie labeling requirements and tackle America’s obesity epidemic.

Cry Wolf Quotes

We are opposed to a bill…that will put our business in the hands of theorists, chemists, sociologists, etc., and the management and control taken away from the men who have devoted their lives to the upbuilding and perfecting of this great American industry.

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Thomas Wilson, spokesperson for the meatpacking industry, Testimony, House Agricultural committee.

There is no question but that this legislation would put Federal bureaucracy in complete control of the size, the weight, the pictorial matter, and the copy on every food package. I wonder if anyone has stopped to think that the idea of seeking Government authority in advance before making a vital business decision is absolutely inconsistent with some of our most fundamental and cherished American traditions….Unless I have been misinformed all these years, I have been under the impression that we are dedicated to the proposition that within reasonable limitations the American citizen is free to do as he pleases…

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Lloyd Skinner, a small businessman and owner of a macaroni company, on behalf of the National Small Business Association. Testimony, Senate Committee on Commerce hearings "Fair Packaging and Labeling". April 28, 1965.

In Armour & Co.’s business not one atom of any condemned animal or carcass finds its way, directly or indirectly, from any source, into any food product or food ingredient” [italics in original]. Every meat animal and every carcass slaughtered in the Union Stockyards, or in the stock yards at any of the markets of the United States, is carefully inspected by the United States Government.

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J. Ogden Armour, president of Armour, a slaughterhouse and meatpacking company, Saturday Evening Post.

Meat canned five years ago is just as good as meat canned six months ago….Of course [putting the date on a can] benefits nobody if the meat is just as good with age, like whisky is said to be, as it is without.

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Judge Samuel H. Cowan, attorney for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association and the American National Live Stock Association. Testimony, House Committee on Agriculture.

Resources

California Center for Public Health Advocacy that strives to raise awarness about food safety-related public health issues.

Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is a think tank devoted to food policy in the United States.

Consumer Federation of America defends the consumer interest in fields ranging from housing and financial services to food safety. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) is the federal agency responsible for the testing and regulation of food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices.