food safety

Jonathan Adler
A new study fails to find scientific support for claims organic food is healthier or safer than conventional alternatives and everyone acts as if this is a surprise. It shouldn’t be.
Paul Schwennesen
Paul Schwennesen recently appeared on Fox Business to discuss food safety. Paul offers more comments on the issue below.We all want safe food.  Question is, how do we get it?  “There oughta be a law,” seems to be the generally conceived approach, as evidenced by recent passage of the now-famous food safety bill.  A tidy and altogether comforting solution:  simply slay the beast of dangerous food with the bludgeon of enlightened bureaucracy. But for the food advocates who support this kind of top-down solution, beware.  The kind of government meddling that created cheap-at-any-cost is now about to do the same for “safe” food.But isn’t food safety a pressing concern, a public health problem we can’t afford to fool around with?  The problem is, the problem isn’t.  Emotional rants that “thousands die every year!” do not help us grapple with the scope or magnitude of this alleged threat.  Let’s try some perspective:  according to the Centers for Disease Control, the estimated number of deaths caused by food borne illness numbers around five thousand a year.  Sounds pretty bad, eh?  Time to call in the Salmonella SWAT team?  Before you do, consider that the same number of people die by intentionally strangling themselves each year.  Or that the same number of people die from Alzheimer’s in California alone each year.  Or that four times that number die each year accidentally falling off of things.  Moreover, 70% of food borne illnesses result from poor food handling procedures during preparation.  Unless you’re also on a crusade to flatten everything or cure Alzheimer’s, I’d think twice about ceding greater authority of our food system to centralized management.True to form, Congress has blithely offered its professional problem-solving services to rid us of the menace of deadly food.  And, true to form, it’s about to embark on another unarmed expedition into the tortuous territory of unintended consequences.