Food

What Could Go Wrong?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

As if we have not seen enough outbreaks of food-borne illnesses and other agricultural disasters over the past couple years, the Trump regime is preparing to hand the responsibility for inspecting pork to the pork industry.

The Washington Post reports that the federal government will cut 40 percent of its inspectors and replace them with employees who work for the same companies they'll be inspecting.

Under the proposed new inspection system, the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners. There would be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.

Pat Basu, the chief veterinarian with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service from 2016 to 2018, refused to sign off on the new pork system because of concerns about safety for both consumers and livestock. The USDA sent the proposed regulations to the Federal Register about a week after Basu left, and they were published less than a month later, according to records and interviews.

“Look at the FAA. It took a year or so before the [Boeing] crashes happened,” Basu said. “This could pass and everything could be okay for a while, until some disease is missed and we have an outbreak all over the country. It would be an economic disaster that would be very hard to recover from.”

The Washington Post also reports that a similar system is being developed for the beef industry which will see industry employees take on the responsibility of policing themselves.

The next presidential administration, whenever we get to it, is going to be tasked with rebuilding the entire inspection and food safety process that's been dismantled by Trump. And it will probably require a major disaster like the one outlined by Pat Basu before they'll have the political cover to resume control of inspections.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be over here having a tuna sandwich.

  • sawadee2000

    I sure do hope that your sandwich was prepared on a cutting board that is free from bacteria and viruses which might have you alternately vomiting and shitting into your toilet. The same goes for any lettuce and sandwich toppings you may use. I am assuming that you are preparing the sandwich yourself, and that you properly washed your hands after using the toilet. Food bourn contamination in no joke. I vividly remember the course in food sanitation I took at the CIA (N0 not THAT CIA) I’m talking about the Culinary Institute Of America. My instructor was a real riot. He could put the fear of God into you about all the nasty pathogens lurking in an innocent looking buffet with a smile on his face. Oh, don’t feel smug vegetarians or vegans. There are PLENTY of pathogens that could kill you…hanging out on salad bars.

    I spent 15 years living in Thailand teaching English. One of the courses I taught was cooking. You’d be amazed how much you can impart by making young minds learn basic culinary terms, such as stirring, sifting, chopping and poring. Actually it was a lot of fun, and my students DID seem to absorb a lot of information as they prepared such goodies as a cranberry upside-down cake, Along with the basic vocabulary I was doing my best to impart, I did my best to make them deathly afraid of food bourn illnesses. I has them all thoroughly amused with an anecdote about sharing some Tom Yom Kung (sweet and sour shrimp soup) with wife my wife on our honeymoon in Chiang Mai. Apparently the image of me and my wife both running like hell for the toilet has them roaring with laughter. Let me tell you, THAT left the two of us feeling decidedly unromantic that night!.

    All joking aside, cutting back on vital food safety is something you’d expect in a developing country, NOT in the USA. If there is any justice in the universe, someday we’ll all someday we’ll all have a chance of seeing Trump doing an impression of Bush vomiting on some state visit to North Korea. Now THAT would be some truly awesome karma!

    I think that I should say that while in Thailand, I received a successful quadruple bypass, and an equally successful rotator surgery performed. The truly amusing thing I should note is that they cost me precisely zero, despite being a foreigner. The facilities at my local hospital in Lampang were as modern as anything you would expect to find at an American hospital, and I would stack my surgical team up against anyone in the world. Thailand is hardly a wealthy country. America is one of the most affluent ones on the planet. How could they have the means to offer me what would have completely unaffordable here?

    I just recently returned to the US. I had to basically go into poverty in order to afford urgent medical care. Thank Ifni, or the deity of your choice that I live in Massachusetts. If I had the misfortune to live in Trumpland, I’d be six feet under. I am singularly blessed to have some extraordinary nurses from Hospice looking out for me, and helping with pain management. I am also fortunately that Marijuana, both medical and recreational are available.

    Unfortunately for me we are cursed with a cowardly, spineless Republican controlled Senate, so I’ll never have the joy of seeing Trump impeached. Hopefully the Southern District of New York will allow me the pleasure of eventually seeing Trump led away, cuffed and in an orange jump suit!

    Keep up the good work! Of, has anyone else ever commented on how truly terrifying your image of that little scissors is? Sorry for being long winded. I hope I haven’t made too many grammatical or spelling mistakes.

  • Draxiar

    “Trump Steaks are the world’s greatest steaks and I mean that in every sense of the word. You can buy them at The Sharper Image.”

    Wait…what?!

  • katanahamon

    Have we learned nothing? What’s the book about the slaughter industry we all study in high school? There’s virtually nothing that Rump isn’t ruining in America, isn’t he up to 22+ lies a day now? Please, please let us get the Mueller report after having had to subpoena it, and please, please let it be damning. Then, please, please let us get Rump’s tax returns, also after forcing them to be revealed, and let them also be damning…M

  • muselet

    When, not if, contaminated meat enters the retail food chain, people will not blame the Trump administration’s indefensible decisions about inspections. Rather, people will blame themdamnbureaucrats! for consumers being sickened or worse.

    Which is the point.

    I don’t believe for a femtosecond that Donald Trump has the first clue about food safety, but there are plenty of mid-level people in the administration who simply want to burn the existing food-safety system to the ground because free markets.

    I don’t wish harm to anyone, but I wouldn’t be overly upset if the White House or Mar-a-Lago were the index case for an outbreak of some (non–life-threatening) food-borne illness once this madness becomes reality. Does that make me a bad person?

    –alopecia

    • katanahamon

      No, it doesn’t make you a bad person, because my thoughts are considerably darker..

  • Username1016

    I’ve never been so happy to be a vegetarian.