Here's a morbidly quirky anecdote to the Baltimore Sun
article I posted
yesterday, which noted how the FDA is charged with ensuring the nation's food safety, yet doesn't have the funding to research proper regulations -- the sort which might have prevented the deadly bacteria outbreaks that contaminated spinach and lettuce earlier this year.
points me to a September article
from McClatchy Newspapers that tells an interesting tale:
Last year, for instance, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein secured a $1 million earmark in a Senate funding bill to establish a Western Center for Food Safety and Defense at UC-Davis. It would have been the first FDA-affiliated center of its kind on the West Coast.
"(It) will play an important role in identifying potential threats and finding solutions to ensure the security of our food supply," Feinstein said at the time.
But when congressional negotiators met to craft a final spending bill, according to sources familiar with the sessions, the proposed UC-Davis food safety center lacked the support of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., a conservative member of the House GOP leadership. The money was dropped.
A spokesperson for Doolittle's office could not be reached to comment.
It's not that Doolittle hates earmarks. After all, he used them to help steer $37 million
to an accused felon, and another $400,000
to the Abramoff-friendly government of the Marianas Islands. (One or both of those favors likely drew the attention of the Feds, who now have Doolittle under investigation
Oh -- are you wondering the real cost of lax food regulation? "Overall, 76 million U.S. residents become sick annually from food-borne illness, more than 325,000 people are hospitalized and 5,000 people die," McClatchy reported.