Letters to the Editor

Safety issue

September 26, 2010


To the editor:

I recently signed one of those Internet petitions to be sent to my senators. I never know how much good they do, but at least it’s doing something. This one was asking support for pending legislation for more and stricter inspection of the food we eat in the wake of the recent egg problems. I signed, and included a message saying we must do everything we can to protect people’s health.

Shortly thereafter I got a reply from Sen. Brownback. It started off saying how we need to continue expanding the markets for the agriculture industry while maintaining a safe, economical food supply. Then the following: “At the same time, the federal government must not create an overly burdensome regulatory system.”

Frankly I was stunned. Newspaper accounts of the conditions in these “egg factories” were deplorable and mentioned the lack and infrequency of inspection. These producers were far from being “overburdened.”

Protecting its citizens, whether with a strong military or insuring the safety of our food, drugs or water is the prime function of government. To subordinate this duty to insuring the profitability of industry shows misguided priorities and a fundamental misunderstanding of being an elected official.


Dan Eyler 7 years, 7 months ago

You already have everything you need to protect yourself when you buy eggs. If they are pasteurized they are safe. Senator Brownback is correct. And to some degree you are too. But the one thing we need to limit as much as possible is government interference with business. At the grocery store I shop at hear in town there were no bad eggs because that store used a company with no issues. If you are concerned about eggs buy yours at the farmers market. But remember there is no government inspections. I don't trust a small farmer any more than I trust the big farmer. If they are not ethical in their practices there will be problems. Since our government seems to be operating from a less than ethical basis I for one don't trust them any more than I trust the big egg farmer.

grimpeur 7 years, 7 months ago

"But the one thing we need to limit as much as possible is government interference with business."

THE one thing? Above all else?

Wow. Anybody else been asleep for the last ten years?

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

"But the one thing we need to limit as much as possible is government interference with business."

I wonder if the dead would agree with you.

devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

Trading freedom for security, little at a time. Safety comes at the expense of innovation. Costs go up. Errors become government errors, not corporate errors.

Oh Phil, salmonella will not disappear from our food if more money is spent on inspectors. There will come a time when an inspector gets paid off, or goes to sleep, or just doesn't give a ...... about his job and salmonella returns. And it doesn't matter who is doing the inspection, corporate inspector, or government bureaucrat. As control of our food shifts from corporate to government, the errors will shift as well. A bad egg is a bad egg. Ah, but the control shifts to government. That's the important thing, isn't it Phil. Last I looked, the government bureaucracy was staffed by people. Some of them lazy and virtually impossible to let go. And corporations hire and fire people, but cut corners to save money. But people are involved, Phil. And people make mistakes, Phil. And your eggs will still come up with salmonella every now and then.

Amy Albright 7 years, 7 months ago

That's ridiculous.


"Since Britain's vaccinations began, the only salmonella outbreaks in eggs have been linked to those imported from elsewhere in the European Union, Cryer said. Overall salmonella cases in the country dropped by half within three years."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

So in order to have innovation, we have to crack a few eggs contaminated with salmonella?

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

And there you go. Those of us who enjoy eating wild game know it is full of parasites and bacteria not normally found in processed foods. You'll seldom hear of food poisoning by consumption of wild critters. Venison steak served rare? Not on this old boy's plate!

devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

Wait a minute, doug. The LTE wants more and stricter inspections. He didn't mention inoculations.
So here's the way free market works. If the law suits and recalls cost the company much more than the inoculations, then the company will start inoculating.

The LTE calls for more bureaucracy. You call for inoculations. I call for responsible human behavior. I like my idea best. You think inoculations are the way to go. The LTE wants more government.

Downside of my method is that people are careless, lazy, and not trustworthy. Your solution risks mutating salmonella and resistant strains. The LTE simply wants to turn his life over to "experts from the government".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Downside of my method is that people are careless, lazy, and not trustworthy."

But not you. You're an engineer.

devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

The solution to sloth is loosing stuff. If you get lazy, you get fired. If you can't get a job because you are lazy, you don't have stuff. If you don't have stuff, then you are hungry, cold, and unhappy. If you change your ways and show up and do the job.....then you start to get stuff back and you get happier.

Or you get stuff by petitioning the government. And getting your stuff for free. Or you don't get fired because you work for the government and can't get fired. And the eggs get salmonella because you did your job poorly. But you still get your stuff.

I don't work for the government, bozo. I can get fired. I show up and do the job every day. In 8 years at my current job, I missed one day due to illness. No, bozo, I am not lazy. Because I identify myself and value myself on just that criteria.

More than God. More than love. More than anything upon which people define morality, I evaluate worth on the basis of showing up and doing the job.

I will work until the day I die.

devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

iamtired has the idea. Way to go. Wash the countertop, too. And your hands. Buy a UV germicidal if you're worried about bugs. You can even get one that dips into the fluid and breaks up the DNA in a few seconds.
But the key notion is responsibility. Of the populace. Of corporations.

Not more bureaucracy.

Amy Albright 7 years, 7 months ago

You guys should go back and read your Upton Sinclair. Do you really think going back to a non-regulated food supply is a good idea? I don't think you've thought this through!

devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

I read Upton Sinclair in high school. He isn't my Upton Sinclair. He will never be my Upton Sinclair. Individual humans are tasked with being the best they can be. And reap the benefits, or suffer the consequences.

Anything less and they become dependent upon a collective.
They protect themselves from other collectives. Upton Sinclair was a socialist. His proscriptions are avowed collectivism. Because the collective is most effective in response to the collective. The problem is that people identify themselves as part of a group. They are Americans, Brits, African-Americans, Kansas Jayhawks. Bologna.

Since I reject the collective, in all its forms, I reject the LTE's views, Sinclair's views, and I reject all who think that they become better when they join hands and sing together.

If you want something, get it. Build it. Harvest it. Work for it. Simple life with simple values. No Jesus. No cultural identity.

Just you. Live, then die.

But don't think that you are anything better than what you do. That is all there is.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

On a related note: The Tea Party rages against government spending and insists on limited government. One of the most universally recognized wasteful spending programs are agricultural support programs. Does Kansas' Congressmen hold with a Tea Party approach or a Republican Party approach? Likewise, candidates for office in 2010. What say you Sam? Mr. Moran? Mr. Yoder?

(Bet you won't get a straight answer to that question. Bet that it never even gets asked.)

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

When government does not want to enforce regulations inspectors are laid off or simply eliminated. Which leaves never enough inspectors to protect our food supply. I say to Pres Obama fill all vacancies and/or beef up the staff.

Large corp egg producers are a problem because approximately 100,000 chickens live together which leaves little room. Exercise and freedom of movement simply does not exist. Air circulation is tough. Same with cattle and swine feed lots. All stand around in their own pee and poop for hours and hours.

From all that I've read these disease/virus problems are almost exclusively found in the large corporate venues.

Small farmers and back yard farmers are held to much stricter standards. Then again a lot of backyard farmers love their animals therefore take care of them and their homes.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 7 months ago

very well said Devo! if it is profitable to be more sanitary, producers will be more sanitary, shizzayam!

"we are from the government and we're here to help you." scarey words indeed.

just a simple reading of Merrill's past postings will give some idea of the harm of big government that tries to run people's lives.
and Boozo has proven totally ignorant of the true meaning of "profit."

instead of more regulators, perhaps the government could publish contamination rates of egg producers so that the free market could impact producers' sanitation?

this would however not be done with the thuggery Mr. Obama has applied to : the auto industry; banking; insurance; or health insurers.

cook thoroughly, wash hands, wash surfaces, change kitchen linens often!

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