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The Food Safety Modernization Act

By Ezra Klein

The Senate is set to consider S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, in the next few days. I've not been following this legislation closely enough to say much about it yet, but if you're looking to get some perspectives on the bill, Grist has an excellent round table featuring perspectives from a variety of food activists, writers and reformers.

By Ezra Klein  | November 15, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
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We've been trying to regulate food for safety for over a century and we still have problems. Are we really that much smarter than our forebears, or is there simply a limit to how much the government can effectively do?

If the food activists truly want food safety, they should start their own organization(s) which inspect producers. If a producer passes an examination, said producer will be allowed to use that organization's symbol on the packaging.

Private regulatory organizations have a far smaller risk of capture, can react more quickly to new facts on the ground, and there can be competing regulatory organizations if one is found lacking. Also, if the FDA screws up, there might be a bit of noise and maybe once in awhile a new round of legislation, but the FDA can always be sure of funding from the government, whereas a private organization knows it risks losing funding if it is ineffective.

Posted by: justin84 | November 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Last time I heard, Tom Coburn (R-OK) put a hold on this legislation until Democrats find a way to pay for it.

Posted by: blackdog1 | November 15, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

All you need to know is that, after an election with a clear message ow "we want more jobs," the Democrats' first act upon returning is to continue what they were doing before the elections: more regulation, spending, and Washington-knows-best policies.

Posted by: ChrisDC3 | November 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Fax 202 2280400
U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris
Re : S 510 FDA food safety enhancement act
Dear Sir
I have grave concerns about passage of S 510 will do to our Union. It must not pass Sir. Monsanto through Michael Taylor must not be allowed to control our food.
Principals from Walmart would be much better for the U.S. Sir
Respectfully Henry Buehler

Posted by: henrybuehler | November 15, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

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