By Rady Ananda
After author Ben Hewitt revealed that the oft-quoted figure of 77 million foodborne illnesses a year came from a 1999 study based mostly on assumption, the Centers for Disease Control released a revised estimate of 48 million. The new revision still uses the assumption, which Hewitt clarifies:
“It is less often stated that the 1999 study providing these numbers ends with a line that reads ‘unknown agents account for approximately 81% of foodborne illnesses and hospitalizations and 64% of deaths.’ In other words, a significant majority of assumed illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths are just that: Assumed. The numbers are merely extrapolated from estimates of all deaths by gastroenteritis of unknown cause.”
The CDC assures us now that they have identified 31 foodborne pathogens responsible for 9.4 million illnesses annually, but:
“The remaining 38 million illnesses result from unspecified agents, which include known agents without enough data to make specific estimates, agents not yet recognized as causing foodborne illness, and agents not yet discovered.”
Unspecified agents? Not yet recognized? Not yet discovered? Then how do they know these 38 million illnesses are a result of a foodborne pathogen? This means that two-thirds of all foodborne illnesses supposedly suffered annually is based on CDC fantasy.
Paul Blake of The Herb Prof says, “They have now entered the world of the anecdotal — the very place that they accused the naturopaths of going.”
Instead of 5,000 annual deaths, now the CDC says 3,000 people die from foodborne pathogens a year. Instead of 325,000 annual hospitalizations, there are now 128,000. But don’t compare those numbers, they warn, because the data collection techniques are different. They made fewer assumptions.
Frankly, I don’t believe 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from tainted food. We would hear about it; we would personally know people — probably within our own families — who become wedded to the toilet. The latest CDC revision on its face doesn’t comport with reality. It is merely a scare tactic used to support federal seizure of the food supply.
In the same press release, the CDC urges Congress to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which will vastly expand the powers of the Food & Drug Administration, because, after all, every single foodborne pathogen related illness or death is preventable. (Yeah, it’s called immunity, which humans develop after being exposed — no need for government interference in the laws of nature.)
As an update, the Food Safety Modernization Act was included in the Senate omnibus spending bill, which was rejected on Thursday without a vote, given vast opposition to the 2,000-page bill. This means the food bill will not likely be passed this year, unless the Senate includes it in the short term Continuing Resolution now being finalized. Folks are encouraged to call their Senators to oppose adding the food safety bill to the new CR, which will be passed by midnight Saturday.
Meanwhile, the CDC does not address the 106,000 deaths caused annually (as of 1998) by drugs approved by the FDA. Neither the CDC nor the FDA want to discuss the number of “iatrogenic” deaths – those deaths caused by doctor error or by treatments prescribed by a doctor. In 1997, that amounted to 420,000 deaths, according to Dr. Lucian L. Leape (discussed by Dr Gary Null, et al.).
Can you imagine the hullabaloo if farmer “error” caused 420,000 deaths each year?
If the FDA were truly concerned with public safety, it would go after drugs and doctors. It would not be raiding natural food producers and distributors. It would have shut down Wright County Egg, which sickened over 1,600 people at last count, instead of shutting down Morningland Dairy, whose product sickened no one. FDA concerns could not be more transparent if they sported a Monsanto logo.
Likewise, the Food Safety Modernization Act is not about safety – it is intended to wipe out mid-size food producers thru overly burdensome regulations, excessive fees and fines, and by interfering with the normal conduct of business — all for the benefit of the multinational corporations whose former executives and lawyers sit at the federal government level.
During the Senate debate on S.510, we repeatedly heard from both sides that “the United States has the safest food supply in the world.” Perhaps S.510 proponents never heard the folk wisdom, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
This food bill is about destroying competition of the food giants. It will expand monopoly control over our food supply. It extends federal reach beyond what is permitted under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by seeking to regulate intrastate commerce. It will destroy local food economies. It is an attack on the personal freedom of humanity to feed itself natural, unadulterated foods outside the irradiated, chlorinated, drugged and pesticide-laden food system that already dominates us.
Not only is the Food Safety Modernization Act unconstitutional, it is unconscionable.