Thursday, February 12, 2009

From the Peanut Gallery

With the latest salmonella outbreak from the Georgia peanut processing plant being investigated, NPR puts Joanne Silberner on the case with an assist from Renee Montagne.

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?

UPDATE:
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.

8 comments:

Porter Melmoth said...

Sill-burned-out's sick-making voice has been a psychological ploy over the years: that is, NPR-oids, thinking that, because she is a homely, dreary-sounding and mouse-like critter, instead of a sexy-tongued and robust media android, this person must be credible. Because, heck, she herself must be sick most of the time, so she must be on the 'side' of listeners.

Yeah, that makes about as much sense as Un-PR actually being 'liberal'. I remember Silburnedher The Sickening's little 'critique' of Michael Moore's 'Sicko', and she was just as smug as the best of them, Liarsson 'n Mundane included.

larry, dfh said...

npr may be flashing a red herring here in getting us to think that all food is blended from distant sources. Iirc, only peanuts grown in Georgia and Virginia can be used in food, at least that's a regulation mentioned to me about 20 years ago.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

So, let me get this straight . . . a private but heavily-subsidized peanut business can poison Americans, sickening thousands and killing at least nine, in a country that under-funds its own agencies used to inspect these businesses? Hmmmm, yeah . . . I just don't see the journalistic "peg" in this story.

By the way, the BBC did this story a bit of justice -- more than two weeks ago -- addressing most of the details that escaped Mousey, Mundane and The Marauder.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

The problems here is also, of course, that NPR substitutes (more and more) actual reports for hot, host-on-reporter action. Sorry, but I just made myself sick thinking about an interview 3-way with Insqueak, Mundane and Shillburner. Ugh! Baseball, baseball, baseball . . .

miranda said...

My one and only pleasure in listening to NPR is when David Corn is a guest on Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup. Sandwiched between two conservapundits, one Fox shill Juan Williams and someone from the (ugh) Weakly No-Standards, Corn sounds rightly exasperated as he talks about, among other things, the disaster of Reaganomics...

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Miranda- INDEED, David Corn Rocks! But, I think he has since moved on to Mother Jones, thus (it is my guess) he is less likely to be used by corporate UnPR because he is considered to be a "stinky hippy." -JET

big!pink!corny!bunny! said...

(faints and hits the floor upon learning that D. Corn was on a NoPR show...)

Hubertg said...

Checked out the reference to Grumpy's 'peanut butter' link, and happened to noticed his reference to cause and effect....which is where NPR drops the ball on the whole economy meltdown thing. The 'stimulus' is actually a salvage package..we need some serious house cleaning to go with it. The Corporatocracy is run by gangsters.