Montagne asks, "...are foods getting less safe?"
To which Silberner chirpily responds,
"Well, we're changing the way we eat and it's, we're coming up with more and more problems and the inspections can't keep up. I mean the FDA hasn't really picked up on its number of inspectors. It hasn't been funded to do that. They've got much more to inspect; there's food coming from all over the world. You can't be everywhere...."Is that seriously the best Silberner can come up with - "the inspections can't keep up" and "You can't be everywhere"? Has she heard of DEREGULATION? (It's been in the news a bit lately.) I don't know what alternate universe Silberner and Montagne were living in in the 1980s, but I'm old enough to remember Honest Ron rolling back safety in the food industry with a vengeance (it weren't pretty). And the problem has worsened over the years - and accelerated under the government-killing stewardship of the Bushistas. As the New York Times noted in 2006, "Cutbacks in staff and budgets have reduced the number of food-safety inspections conducted by the F.D.A. to about 3,400 a year — from 35,000 in the 1970s. The number of inspectors at the Agriculture Department has declined to 7,500 from 9,000."
It's not like you have to have a PhD in Food Sciences to figure out that the problem (which Nader again pinpointed almost a year ago) is the greed of the food industry coupled with the gutting of safety regulations and budgets. It's obvious if you are paying attention, as this Atlanta Journal Constitution writer is, or doing any research. But not to NPR's finest.
Silberner tells Montagne that "it's really the new food reality that companies like Kellogg or Keebler, they will buy products from all over, and then put them into their products, then we eat that final product. We no longer eat locally grown foods from a single source; foods are combined." Yeah, like we were all eating locally grown foods just a few short years ago - hmm, was that 50, 75 or 100 years ago that Silberner's recalling?
Be sure to check out Grumpy Demo's comment on the NPR site. In his comment he also has a link to this great Atlanta Journal Constitution story showing the connections between the peanut boss and deregulation.