It's logical to think that only government protects us from dangerous chemicals and bacteria in your food. But as I discuss in my syndicated column this week, it's not true.
A scare newsletter called "Food Poisoning Bulletin" warns that if government reduces food inspections, "food will be less safe ... (because) marginal companies ... (will) cut corners."
We're going to die!
Most people believe that without government meat inspection, food would be filthy. We read "The Jungle," Upton Sinclair's depiction of the meatpacking business, and assume that the FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service are all that stand between us and E. coli. Meatpacking conditions were disgusting. Government intervened. Now, we're safe! A happy ending to a story of callous greed.
The scheming lawyers behind the "Food Poisoning Bulletin" argue that without regulation companies will "cut corners." After all, they say, sanitation costs money, so lack of regulation "creates a competitive disadvantage for companies that want to produce quality products."
But that's bunk. It's not government that keeps E. coli to a minimum. It's competition. Tyson Foods, Perdue and McDonald's have brands to maintain -- and customers to lose. Ask Jack in the Box. It lost millions after a food-poisoning scandal.
We ought to leave food safety to the private sector.
Also, why did Americans suddenly shun "pink slime," a.k.a. lean finely textured beef? Two words: media hype.
Earlier this year, my old employer, ABC News, "alerted" the public to a new threat, ground beef made with "pink slime."
It sounds awful! ABC's reporting frightened most school systems so much that they stopped using that form of meat. The food company lost 80 percent of its business.
But the scare is bunk. What ABC calls "pink slime" is just as appetizing as other food.
"Bunk is the polite word," Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center says. "ABC went on a crusade. Three nights in a row back in March, they pounded on this."
Well, why shouldn't they, if there's something called "pink slime" in beef?
"Because it's not pink slime. It's ground beef."
The rest of my column here.