In a recent editorial the Salinas Californian called California Senator Dean Florez “a born publicity hound”.
The editor was apparently trying to use the editorial bully pulpit to, well, bully Senator Florez. Florez has been in hot pursuit of the vegetable growing industry and their weak efforts to provide for our national health and safety. It has been widely observed that the local Salinas newspaper did nothing extraordinary in the past year in reporting the necessary and substantial facts surrounding the recent E. Coli 0157:H7 spinach outbreak which killed at least 3 individuals. But this recent Editorial blast was simply “beyond the pale”.
One of the rather humorous defenses offered by the editorial writer seems to be a version of “we’re no worse than everybody else” when he/she compares the weak consumer protection efforts of the vegetable industry to the meat industry vis a vis pathogen contamination. As I think about it, that might be a good logo for the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA): “LGMA: We’re no Worse Than Everyone Else”
In response to the Salinas Californian editor I ask, is US Senator Tom Harkin “a born publicity hound” for remarks this week:
“This is a food safety concern for consumers who wonder if it is OK to serve this produce to their families, and it is an agricultural concern for growers who face another blow to sales of their product,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Harkin, D-Iowa, is crafting legislation that would set up national food safety practices for growing and processing fresh produce that run the highest risk of causing food-borne illness.
Further, is Representative Rosa DeLauro “a born publicity hound” when she is quoted this week as saying:
” U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro called Thursday for the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen safety guidelines for fresh-cut produce in the wake of another spinach recall. “It is time for the FDA to renew their commitment to their mission of protecting the public health, and make a declarative statement that the goal is to prevent food-borne illness, not just to react when outbreaks occur,” said DeLauro, who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture.”
Is US Rep. Diana DeGette “a born publicity hound” when she said yesterday:
“Every new outbreak of contaminated food illustrates the need for comprehensive reform of the food safety system in the United States,” she said.
DeGette plans to introduce legislation that would give the government the authority to force a recall and require the FDA to establish a product-tracing system to enable faster recalls.”
Writing such as what the editor of the Salinas Californian produced should help answer the question of why nationwide newspaper readership is falling like a rock. The publishers and management of the Salinas Californian should be ashamed of themselves. They have no right to be called “independent press”. They are clearly PR pimps for their local vegetable-industrial complex. A pox on them!
Frank Pecarich retired from the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the US Bureau of Reclamation in 1987. During his 26 year federal career he worked as a soil scientist with the USDA on the now- published Soil Survey for Monterey County. He lives in Ventura County.
Related articles that have been published by the California Progress Report by Mr. Pecarich can be found under the topic of Food Safety.