It's sickening

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This is a story about the high cost of "free" trade -- and how it can make you sick. Literally.

The Food and Drug Administration finally found the likely source of that recent salmonella outbreak that sickened nearly 1,300 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada since April: a Mexican pepper farm. Authorities said they found the same strain of salmonella from the outbreak in both peppers and irrigation water at the farm.

You didn't have to get sick to feel sick, either: The salmonella scare, which initially centered on tomatoes, cost Georgia growers alone about $30 million, according to the University of Georgia.

Such outbreaks can occur, one supposes, anywhere. But the unpleasant, and politically incorrect, truth is that regulations and oversight of agriculture are different around the world, as are farming traditions and practices.

The Most High Church of Free Trade ignores this fact, preaching earnestly that it's all the same. Clearly, it isn't. This outbreak proves it.

Growers and distributors in the United States have reserved their anger, until now, for the FDA and Centers for Disease Control for taking too long in figuring out what happened. But in truth, the real culprit here may be trade policies that find U.S. producers working under much stricter regulations than their foreign competitors. And getting punched in the gut for their trouble.

It's sickening.

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afadel
678
Points
afadel 08/02/08 - 07:15 am
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Free trade is good in

Free trade is good in principle. I don't believe governments should be supporting specific industries like our government has at various times. However, I agree with the editor that there must be some agreement on environmental, safety and labor standards among trading partners. Hopefully, we in the U.S. will insist on high standards and not lower ours.

Little Lamb
53027
Points
Little Lamb 08/02/08 - 08:34 am
0
0
The FDA tells us they found a

The FDA tells us they found a salmonella bacteria strain in some irrigation water and on some produce. If they look harder they will find it in many places. It's common. What the FDA has NOT done is PROVE produce from THAT location caused the illnesses of the 1,300 people Mr. Ryan writes about above. They have not done that because they CANNOT! They cannot establish a cause/effect relationship between those peppers and those people. The FDA is making the people of the United States out to be fools. Sad thing is that the FDA may be right (about our intelligence, not about the peppers).

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 08/02/08 - 02:21 pm
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Little Lamb, please share

Little Lamb, please share with us the details of your studies towards your M.D., your vast experience in epidemiology studies, and your lab work with salmonella in particular. Thanks.

jack
11
Points
jack 08/02/08 - 06:37 pm
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JohnSmith, don't be pickin'

JohnSmith, don't be pickin' on sweetie. She's usually pretty much on the mark.

Little Lamb
53027
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Little Lamb 08/02/08 - 09:05 pm
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Remember, Mr. Smith, that the

Remember, Mr. Smith, that the FDA first told the American public that the illnesses came from tomatoes from Florida. Then when millions of Florida tomatoes rotted in warehouses and in fields, the industry whined (while people still became sick). So now the FDA has picked on Mexican jalapenos. I guess their political lobby is not as strong. Salmonella infections cannot have vegetables as the root cause. The FDA knows that, but there is no one in the press knowlegeable to question them. You have not heard the press put this into perspective. For example, Ryan says above that 1,300 people got sick this summer. He should have also reported how many got sick last summer. It's not out of line.

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