Food

You Can Thank Trump For Your Future Food Poisoning

by Talia Ralph

September 16, 2016

We’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always crystal clear what the Food and Drug Administration does—its reach includes everything from medical devices to tobacco. What we do know for sure is that it is the one thing standing between us and massive food poisoning outbreaks. 

Donald Trump doesn’t seem worried. The Republican presidential candidate pledged on Thursday that he plans to slash a range of regulators’ responsibilities, including the FDA’s ability to keep our food safe.  

Calling it “The FDA Food Police,” Trump said the agency “dictate(s) how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food.” 

If we slash their authority to impose needed checks and balances on our food system, who knows what might happen.

It seems that Trump, like many first-year food studies students, isn’t exactly clear on the difference between the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture. While he’s right that the FDA has a say in what our pets eat (and for good reason), the USDA is in charge of all things farming and agriculture. Unlike the Apprentice star, you may have been able to simply deduce that from the agencies’ names, or a quick scroll through their respective websites.

His lack of a basic understanding about government agencies’ roles isn’t the most worrisome thing about this statement, however. That can be found in the next sentence:

“The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures and even what animals may roam which fields and when...It also greatly increased inspections of food 'facilities,' and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill."

The fact sheet has since been removed from Trump’s website, but The Hill published a screen grab for posterity. The sheet initially said the goal is to get rid of rules that hurt the economy, and strengthen the ones that are working. 

The FDA Food Police...even dictates the nutritional content of dog food.

But if you take just one glance at the list of recalls the FDA is managing, you’ll see it is stopping at least one company a day from selling something harmful to the American public. If we slash its authority to impose needed checks and balances on our food system, who knows what might happen—from widespread foodborne illnesses to potential food-related terrorism. 

The Republican Presidential candidate’s callousness seems to know no bounds, though we never thought it would extend to our dinners. 

Photos via Flickr

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