The biggest U.S. food-safety overhaul in more than 70 years won Senate passage as lawmakers sought to curb food-borne illnesses that cost the nation an estimated $152 billion a year.
Will this work? Who knows. And how much of the food-borne illness is due to improper preparation? A lot - maybe most. Will this address any of that? No.
The concern lies in many of the provisions in the legislation that, if I'm reading it correctly, will make processing seeds for the next year a regulated activity. Well that's very convenient - for Monsanto and similar. It's not so good if you want what are known as "heirloom" seeds - those that not only germinate but produce seed in the resulting crop so you can have a nice, natural cycle of growth, instead of relying on the big seed producers (all of whom would love to legislate away what nature would otherwise make a low-cost alternative to their products.)
The bill had awaited a full Senate vote since winning unanimous approval a year ago by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. It was prompted partly by recalls of cookie dough, spinach, jalapenos and salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed at least nine people and sickened more than 700 in 2008 and 2009.
Let's see.... nine people over two years, or 4.5 people/year. Your odds are 1 in 73 million.
350 people a year sickened? One in 943,000 anually.
To put this in perspective you have a one-in-7,800 chance of being killed in an auto accident, and several multiples of this for injury in an accident - or more than 100 times more likely that you will get injured or killed in an auto accident.
I'm not impressed with the argument here, just as I'm not impressed with the argument for the TSA.