The Food and Drug Administration has admitted that they aren’t completely sure what’s in the food you’re eating. Owing to a tide of new food additives and relaxed regulatory requirements, food manufacturers are increasingly able to put chemical preservatives, flavorings, and various other agents in their food without being scrutinized by the FDA. In hundreds of these cases, reports the Washington Post, the oversight agency “doesn’t even know” about the existence of these chemicals, some of which could be triggering allergies and illnesses in the populace.
The problem here, of course, is not with the FDA and it isn’t with the relaxed regulations, although the Post article does its damnedest to make it about those things. The truth is that a future without the FDA would undoubtedly be a brighter one, spurring on the growth of private consumer advocacy companies that would do the same job for much, much cheaper.
The possibilities of such a sector are virtually unlimited. One can envision a grocery store filled with food that has been voluntarily submitted for approval by this private alternative to the FDA. Other foods could be sold without such oversight, and consumers could make the choice as to whether or not they wanted to take the chance. This would bring food prices down dramatically, lessen the American tax burden, and would remove many of the federal restrictions currently plaguing manufacturers across the country.
But that’s a discussion for the future.
Present problems must be handled with our present capabilities, and right now the FDA is the sheriff. Millions of Americans depend on the agency to make sure they aren’t eating poison on a daily basis, although the lunacy of such a scenario is enough to make you laugh. The FDA hasn’t had any problem allowing the sale of sugary cereals, 2-liter bottles of liquid diabetes, or dangerous and addictive prescription drugs. Bloomberg’s failed nanny state in New York, of course, has shown that Americans won’t put up with that kind of meddling anyway. So why does this agency even exist? Why is it sucking up…wait for it…$4 billion a year in taxpayer money?
What is the problem again? Oh, right. Mysterious food additives.
The issue, says the FDA, is that companies are taking unfair advantage of their expedited certification process. This process was implemented nearly twenty years ago as a way for food manufacturers to get through the regulatory process much more quickly. From the sounds of it, companies are basically just certifying themselves on a voluntary basis. Meanwhile, the FDA puts their stamp of approval on the product even though they haven’t investigated it.
“We aren’t saying we have a public health crisis,” Taylor said. “But we do have questions about whether we can do what people expect of us.”
That’s fantastic, but we’ve had questions for years about what to expect from the FDA. After all, this is a government agency that continues to allow cigarettes to be sold to the American public. And I’m all for that, don’t get me wrong. But when you have a federal agency that’s charged with keeping the public safe from food and drug harm allowing the sale of a product that is responsible for nearly 450,000 deaths a year, you have a real farce in the making.
Hopefully, we can all wake up and admit that, mysterious food additives or not, the FDA has long ceased to be relevant. The sooner it is abolished, the sooner we can get down to the real business of seeing what’s in our grocery stores and pharmacies.