If you’ve watched any political television lately then you’ve likely seen Republicans, particularly those with a Tea Party lean, cry out with exuberance for “smaller government” and “deregulation of industry.” Last week’s massive Cargill recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey from a plant in Springdale, Arkansas, one of the largest meat recalls in the history of our country, provides a great example of the need for government regulation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)reports that 77 people in 26 states became ill from consuming ground turkey produced in Springdale that was infected by an antibiotic resistant strain of salmonella. Of those 77, a California man died and 22 others were hospitalized.
This recall came as a result of federal government agency regulatory action not the self policing of Cargill. The recall was prompted by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service investigation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a public health adivsory on Friday, July 29th. The CDC followed suit with a public health advisory on Monday, August 1st. In response to the public health advisories of two federal government agencies, Cargill issued their colossal recall on Wednesday, August 3rd.
The next time you hear a Republican politician mention deregulation, think about the Cargill recall and whether you want to keep federal government agencies like the USDA and CDC around to inspect and monitor the meat production industry to make sure that the food we all eat is safe.