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The Food and Drug Administration
December 13, 2013
by J.A. Young

If you take time to speak with someone in the food service industry about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) you are likely going to be met with some understandable hostility. Restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and business owners all generally dislike the encroachment of the nanny state and ‘excessive’ health and safety regulations, which is easy to understand. After all if your particular establishment is caught with a ripening piece of pork in the walk-in freezer, or a seriously unclean floor, you are in for a nightmarish legal hassle and possibly worse. The same can be said for pharmaceutical companies that develop new drugs and medical technology. Even if a corporation has spent millions of dollars and thousands of man hours creating a new wonder-drug, you have years of testing and red-tape before it can be sold on the open market. This tenuous relationship has formed our perspective of the FDA and their role in keeping people safe, but it is not the whole story.

 

 

The impression that we have of the FDA is one that is begrudgingly compliant, but principally supportive. We all want to be sure that when we go out to a decent meal, or stop by the local supermarket that there are safeguards in place preventing all the things that can and will go wrong. When you pop open a fresh bottle of aspirin you would like to do so without the paranoia of wondering: is this really healthy for me? The FDA is a symbolic blanket of protection preventing those worries. When a product makes it through the lengthy and taxing process of becoming FDA approved, you feel at ease about using it. But you shouldn’t, not if you understand the way politics work. In order to be at ease about the food and drugs that line our shelves, the system would have to be presided over by an organization that is independent from the business world. The FDA is decidedly not that organization. Their history of incompetency and resistance to scientific opinion proves this.

 

The real problem is that the FDA is plagued by the same expansive corruption that we see in all other parts of our government, and for the same reason. The FDA operates within the same capitalist framework as other government agencies, ergo it is joined at the hip to corporate interests.  As stated by Dr. Michael Jacobson, the Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “It’s corporate power, for something like salt, or partially hydrogenated oil , or sugar, there’s huge industries behind those substances.” [1] America’s heinous brand of misanthropic capitalism means that organizations like the FDA can never function autonomously, which is precisely what we need them to do. If a new food additive is released. you must have an organization that can do an objective study of its effects, which is completely impossible today. The FDA is beholden to the interests of corporate America, not the well being of the country.

 

 

There are scores of lobbyists from the biggest companies in the world that pay good money to make sure that their products are approved. [2] If you have eaten any chicken over the past few days, there is an overwhelming probability that it was raised in a crowded, shadowy room, and force-fed antibiotics and hormones so that it won’t rot into a pool of bacteria and feces. Then it was most likely sucked into a giant machine that looks like it was constructed by Satan to clean the streets of Hell, and mechanically separated into edible bits (assholes and feet included). ABRA KADABRA! It was marked FDA approved and served hot to your table at only 79 cents on the pound. Just the way that Tyson, Smithfield, and McDonalds like it.  We live in a country where the food system is broken for this very reason. There is no authority to step in and say, you can’t do business this way. That would mean changing the foundations of commercialized farming and agriculture, which is supported by big business.

 

 

Look no further than our own pharmaceutical industry to see even more blatant evidence of collusion between the corporate machine and the administration that oversees our physical well-being. Prescription narcotics kill more people in America than heroin and cocaine combined, and they are 100% FDA approved. Cannabis, which is by all sane accounts one of the top five most useful plants on the entire planet, is categorized as a schedule 1 substance by the FDA (meaning it has no redeeming value of any kind). It is of course just a pleasant coincidence that the drug-industry is worth 300 billion dollars worldwide, and that legalizing cannabis would put a huge dent into the sales of any conservative companies that specialize in energy, food supplements, textiles, or pharmaceuticals. These are not fringe theories or speculative claims, they are in our public record.  The Washington Post ran a story in October that clearly outlined how major drug companies have bought their way into the 9 billion dollar American painkiller market, schilling out huge sums of money to sway advisory committees and policy makers. [2] Why are there no politicians stepping up against this absurd system? They are a part of it too.

 

 

Ethan Huff of Natural News summarized the problem as, “It is now an undeniable fact that the pharmaceutical industry weaseled its way onto key U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panels, which were instrumental in shaping the way drugs are safety tested and approved.” [2]  It is easy to become frustrated when you dig into this problem, because it’s seeded into the fabric of our entire political-economy. Unchecked corporate influence now means that we can’t trust our politicians, our policy-makers, or our modern way of life. It’s just not possible for people to do the right thing when at the end of the day someone with deep pockets is pulling all the strings.



[1] http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/05/10/1982851/fda-slow-to-regulate-harmful-substances/


[2]http://www.naturalnews.com/042562_total_corruption_drug_companies_fda_advisory_panels.html
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