Food and Drug Administration, responsible for 80 percent of the food supply, is halting routine food inspections. This means no government oversight of practically everything else in the grocery store. Also, most of the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the group that identifies and tracks foodborne illnesses, have been told to stay home. reset Man on the street: Shutdown reactions Make no mistake: The safety of our food supply will suffer if agreement is not reached on a continuing resolution that funds the government, says Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a longtime food safety advocate. ( PHOTOS: 18 times the government has shut down ) The governments food safety functions are far more pressing than the unrealistic demands being made by petulant extremists in the House. The situation at FDA seems critical. The agency is maintaining 55 percent of its 14,779 employees while in shutdown mode, but this includes workers who focus on drugs, tobacco and other nonfood areas, many of which have budgets propped up by industry user fees. Remarkably, the shutdown plan is more generous than the outline floated in 2011, the last time the federal government was facing the brink. Under that plan, the administration deemed only 14 percent of FDAs workforce essential. Still, food safety advocates are very concerned about the direct hit to food safety. ( Also on POLITICO: Senate CR to strip Monsanto rider ) Ceasing routine food inspections is not ideal, experts say, especially because FDA is already so short-staffed compared with the size of its jurisdiction. During the 2012 fiscal year, the agency inspected about 10,000 of the 167,000 domestic food manufacturers. Overseas, it was able to get into 1,300 of the 254,000 food facilities registered with the agency. According to the plan released by the administration, FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. That includes routine food manufacturer inspections, compliance and enforcement of food safety regulations and food import monitoring. When it comes to the CDC, which is operating with 32 percent of its 12,825 employees during the shutdown, health experts worry the disease surveillance system for detecting foodborne illness could be hampered by the loss of personnel.
Recently proposed cuts to the federal food stamps program would return the program to 2011 spending levels, still providing benefits to roughly 45.7 million individuals. SoldAtTheTop dismisses Keynesian arguments against the proposal and argues ‘limited government’ to be a dead philosophy. By SoldAtTheTop ,Guest blogger / October 2, 2013 Kevin Concannon, former U.S. undersecretary of agriculture, chats with vendor Helen Wise at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, N.C.. SoldAtTheTop analyzes recent proposals to cut federal food stamp spending. Allen Breed/AP Photo/File Enlarge Listening to a recent Diane Rehm episode entitled ” The Politics of Food Stamps ” which discussed proposed cuts to the federal food stamps program provides yet another example of how far out of hand and fiscally profligate the statist policy junkies have gotten. SoldAtTheTop Writer, The PaperEconomy Blog ‘SoldAtTheTop’ is not a pessimist by nature but a true skeptic and realist who prefers solid and sustained evidence of fundamental economic recovery to ‘Goldilocks,’ ‘Green Shoots,’ ‘Mustard Seeds,’ and wholesale speculation. Recent posts The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition The proposed cut, as stated directly in the opening of the show, would amount to 5% of the program cost, roughly $40 billion, over 10 years or put another way, roughly $4 billion per year for the next 10 years. RECOMMENDED: What does the federal government do with your money? Take our taxes quiz. Recall from my prior posts that the currentmonthly costof funding the federal food stamps program is $6.35 billion with an annual total of roughly $76.2 billion. So, the proposed annual cut is less than the cost of funding the federal food stamps program for just a single month, spread out over an entire year. Looking at it another way, the $4 billion annul cut equates to roughly $335 million per month or the equivalent of the cost of providing food stamps benefits to 200K recipients or 100K households per month. Given the fact that there are currently 47.7 million food stamps recipients, this proposed cut is simply a “drop in the bucket”, a mere rounding error on a program that has grown far out of bounds in both cost and purpose. Of course, listening to the Keynesian policy junkies on the Rehm panel though, any cut is too much and completely unacceptable. No matter that the federal government is effectively insolvent, relying on the Federal Reserve for a $45 billion monthly hit of stimulation just to make the ends meet on these programs We must not cut these important benefits the Keynesians opine.
The politics of food stamps: Unlimited government!
Status: Still pending At Stake: The foundation says the real issue at stake is Julia Childs legacy, especially considering the chefs well-known stance against endorsing products, but its still in the midst of calculating how much money to ask for. Memorable Quote: Foundation spokesman Todd Schulkin: Given the value of todays food celebrities, the value will be in the millions of dollars. The Case of the Eleven-Inch Footlong At the beginning of this year, Subway came under fire when photos went viral of a customer rolling out a tape measure next to his supposedly foot-long Subway sandwich, and proving that his meal literally came up short. Lawsuits inevitably followed, with one lawyer estimating that the company essentially cheats its patrons of $142.5 million worth of food every year. Subway responded by pledging to tighten its standards and ensure that a foot equates to 12 inches in each of its more than 38,000 restaurants worldwide. Status: At the Subways request, the case was moved to the federal court system in May. At Stake: On Subways side, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, and as-yet-uncalculated costs of instituting a new hoagie-measuring system. On the plaintiffs side, bigger sandwiches and, presumably, waistlines. Memorable Quote: Plaintiff Jason Leslie: They advertise in all these commercials, Footlong, Footlong, Footlong, and now I feel like an idiot. I cant believe I fell for that trick. The sandwiches are anywhere between a half-inch to an inch shorterI feel cheated. The Case of the Anus Burger In 2007, Carls Jr. got all anal when rival Jack in the Box rammed a stick up its butt in two TV ads that implied that Carls Jr.s much-touted Angus burgers were actually made from cow anus.