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Friday, July 31, 2009

Big government gets in your food, hurts small farmers

With the House having just passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act, I dedicate my column today the history of Big Business and food safety regulation:
When Teddy Roosevelt instituted federal meat inspection, muckraker Upton Sinclair, whose book “The Jungle” spurred the push for meat regulation, wrote, “The Federal inspection of meat was, historically established at the packers’ request ... for the benefit of the packers.” The regulations “primarily affected their innumerable small competitors,” historian Gabriel Kolko wrote, and gave the big guys a virtual “government certificate on their goods,” as Sen. George Perkins described it.

Today, giant food producers (whose poor practices caused the scares of 2007 and 2008) again lead the push for food regulation, and many elements on the Left again see that the big guys are shaping the laws.

The big food processors, such as Kellogg, have lobbied for this bill, which would treat farms as “food production facilities,” subject them to inspections, and saddle them with reporting and record-keeping requirements.

Read the whole thing here.

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