FDA Is a Threat to Safety

Published July 2, 2008

The solution to FDA’s recent failures is not more funding, but less, much less, as in none. (“FDA Still Searching for Salmonella Cause,” July 2) FDA, by its nature as an executive agency, is inherently prone to oversights and incompetence. If Americans want cleaner, healthier, less-lethal produce, they should advocate for FDA’s abolition.

Imagine a salmonella scare without FDA’s looming presence. Restaurants suspect their tomatoes might be the cause. With no FDA to dominate the investigation, they press on their suppliers to find the culprits. It is in the suppliers’ interests to eliminate contamination quickly, lest restaurants shift their business to safer, even if more expensive, suppliers. Suppliers use their own money, not taxpayers’, to perform their investigations. Every sample they take comes out clean. Restaurants are satisfied and turn their attention to their next suspect and begin to press the suppliers of that product for similar action. The process is quick, relatively painless, and cost-effective.

It is never in a producer’s interest to endanger customers. Even in the event of negligence or intentional wrongdoing, the justice system allows for injured consumers and retailers to seek redress from producers. This is a far more efficient means of settling these matters than bureaucratic mandate.

The private sector has better tools, fewer barriers, and a greater incentive to tackle and prevent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses than the government does. FDA is impotent at its best and dangerous at its worst. It needs to go.

Ryan Krause ([email protected]) is a legislative specialist intern at The Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois.