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Ron Paul: Reform the FDA

By Doug Wead   |   Friday, 12 Aug 2011 07:20 AM

There comes a moment on television when the host of the show seems backed into a corner on the subject of Ron Paul.

He must acknowledge the congressman's prescience on the economy. How he anticipated the housing bubble, the mortgage crisis, the credit downgrade and the price of gold. There is no question that the country is coming to him.

In 2008, most of the American people didn't know what the Federal Reserve is. Now most agree with Ron Paul that it should be thoroughly audited.

While GOP presidential candidates were trying to "outgun" their rivals last time around, they now pay homage to the large percentage of Americans who agree with Ron Paul that we should stop the endless wars that are bankrupting the country. And then flustered, backtracking, the host will seize some familiar anti-Paul device, too complicated to explain in a television sound bite, such as drug decriminalization, but usually it is his call to end the Federal Drug Administration.

"Well, we cannot have Ron Paul as president," the host will laugh nervously, "I am not for eliminating the FDA and eating tainted meat."

End of conversation.

Well, of course, Ron Paul supporters are likewise not in favor of eating tainted meat. And that is what drives the whole issue.

Today the FDA, like other agencies in Washington is hopelessly corrupt. Tyson's Food, the largest producer of meat in the world, has also been a major contributor to both Republican and Democrat candidates over the years and was a major player in the rise of Bill Clinton.

Tyson employees have ended up as hires by the FDA, the very agency that is supposed to regulate them.

Feel safe about your meat? Consider this from Wikipedia: "The food safety director of Costco claimed in October 2009 that Tyson Foods refuses to supply beef to Costco due to Costco's policy of testing beef for E. coli . . . stating 'Tyson will not supply us. They don’t want us to test.'"

How about a complaint that chickens grown for processing are living and dying within 0.7 square feet of space and never see sunlight?

There are many reports that some companies feed cows corn instead of grass, which often requires veterinarians to clean out their colons. That the cows live and die, shoulder to shoulder, sometimes ankle deep, in rainwater and their own feces and urine.

There are theories that Americans are fat because of the hormone injections in beef. There was a University of Iowa study that found a new strain of MRSA because of excessive use of antibiotics in healthy animals. The food industry insists that it prevents disease.

In tests on farms in Iowa and Western Illinois it was found that a high percentage of hogs — and and even workers — carried a new strain of MRSA. Drug resistant infections have skyrocketed in the past two decades. 

An Associated Press articled published last April suggested that half of the meat and poultry sold in U.S. supermarkets "may be tainted with Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can make people sick."

Many Americans see the media as complicit. After all, the food industry is a major advertiser. A journalist will break a story, cause a mild sensation, but it will soon disappear. (Upton Sinclair, the author who outed the meat industry in the early 20th century, would turnover in his grave.) Still, the Internet and the troubled conscience of workers in the system have helped fuel a populist uprising. More and more Americans are learning the truth and are concerned.

So yes, Ron Paul would change all of that.

Now, as Ron Paul often says, he is not running for dictator. He is running for president. He lives and breathes the U.S. Constitution. These are just his ideas. Congress would have to pass legislation to make them law and so the American people would have to agree. But one must admit that privatization and competition did not hurt the U.S. Post Office. Competition from UPS, Federal Express and Purolator have only made it better.

Imagine a J.D. Power and Associates stamp on a package of meat. Involvement of private companies would transform the meat industry. And even if a President Ron Paul was not successful in shutting down the corrupt FDA, and privatizing the whole process, just having a president who wasn't blind to the cozy relationship between an agency and the industry it is supposed to regulate, could make all the difference in the world.

Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and a former adviser to two American presidents. He is senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign.

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