Last year, the FDA moved to ban the use of wooded boards for cheese production, a centuries-old practice used by artisan cheese makers. The reason? In a recent communication to the New York regulators, the FDA noted:
“Wood shelves and boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized, and as such, do not conform to a particular regulation regarding plant equipment and utensils.”
And this does make sense—since, you know, none of the rest of us use wood boards or utensils at home for cutting cheese or preparing food…
In response to this, Gregory McNeal wrote in Forbes:
“The FDA’s decision will not only harm American cheese makers, but may also bring a halt to the importation of artisan cheeses from abroad as Canadian and European Union regulators have not imposed such draconian measures and still allow for the use of wood boards to age cheese. Rob Ralyea of Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, commenting on the FDA’s action noted “the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few).”
And, although it appears they’ve backed off from their ban on using wood boards in the production of artisan cheese (at least for now), now the FDA is targeting another evil industry: artisan soap makers!
A bill recently proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins could soon put small soap producers out of business—because rather than ban any particular products or ingredients which might be dangerous, it merely increases boosts the regulatory burden, with which small soap makers can’t afford to comply, while the big corporations can (which is exactly why the big guys lobbied for the new legislation, including Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Estee Lauder, Unilever, and L’Oréal).
But wait, that’s not all! There’s more: In addition to targeting artisan cheese makers and artisan soap makers, the FDA is also pushing new regulations which would shut down artisanal food producers!
The proposed rule would subject all small food producers who don’t produce their food on a farm to the same paperwork and compliance burdens outlined in the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) for large-scale producers. For producers making under $500,000 annually, compliance with the new requirements could cut their profits in half, while doing nothing to make food safer. Many of these small-scale producers would simply go out of business as a result.
It’s all insane! The inmates are running the asylum!
But what I find even more astonishing is how much money we are all paying for this nonsense, this absurd government/administrative overreach:
As of 2012, the annual budgets of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) were a combined total of over $136 billion (to put that in a more graspable terms, that’s $136 thousand million dollars).
Imagine: that’s 136 thousand millionaires we could have had instead, building businesses, innovating and inventing stuff, solving problems, creating value, adding jobs, spurring the economy…
Instead, all that potential value and economic growth is thrown out the government window—namely, to the FDA and USDA—each and every year.
Now, these agencies are charged with, among other things, keeping our nation’s food supply safe and healthy. But instead, in exchange for us handing over $136 thousand million of our hard-earned dollars to them each and every year, our food supply has actually become dangerous and unhealthy—making us fat, making us sick, and even killing us. Instead of being safe and healthy, under the FDA’s and USDA’s watch our food supply has become full of toxic chemicals, pesticides, unsubstantiated GMOs, hormones, antibiotics—and has actually become devoid of many of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we all actually need in order to stay healthy.
Then add to this travesty the fact that many items that people want to consume are outright banned, resulting in fines, assaults, caging, and even murder of those who are caught producing, possessing, buying, selling, or consuming them. Certain plants, certain kinds of milk, certain health supplements…the list goes on and on and on.
And even when they’re not banned by these agencies of the state, all the added regulation of those items they “allow” people to produce, possess, buy and sell, and consume, drives the cost of those items ever higher. And this is a good thing, because, you know, in a struggling and even declining economy like we have in the US today, what the people really need—what really helps us all out—is higher consumer prices.
Not to mention that both the FDA and USDA are unconstitutional (i.e., illegal). The Constitution—you know, that legal document that dictates what the Federal Government can and cannot do?—nowhere authorizes the creation of agencies such as the FDA and USDA.
So what gets me is the way people become outraged at some new law, some new regulation, some new banning of items that people want or need, by these illegal agencies of the state—and so they clamor for changes in the laws, or regulations, or policies; they negotiate; they accept extortion by way of tax increases, licensing fees, fines, inspection fees etc., and resort to bribes by way of “campaign contributions.”
Or worse, they are forced to risk doing business in a dangerous and often deadly black market—each and every one of which is spawned by government intervention into what should be a free market.
But nobody seems to stop for a moment and realize that we are paying these agencies—the FDA, the USDA—hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars, each and every year, to oppress us and create all of these problems—and for no justifiable reason, either, because they are doing nothing to actually assure the quality and safety of our food supply.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
So why are we paying dearly for these agencies to exist—merely so we can fight them, negotiate with them, complain about them, avoid them, fear them, pay out the ass for them?
Perhaps we should end them instead; just stop funding them. Pull the plug. Send those $136 thousand million dollars elsewhere, where they’re needed—like back to the taxpayers where they belong, and into the economy where they’ll truly be helpful to everyone.
In other words, let’s cut the budget, not the cheese.
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