Monday the World Health Organization said that the risk of radiation entering the food chain from Japan was a serious situation.
Milk, spinach and water supplies there have already showed contamination from radiation, but officials say the levels are too low to do any harm. And although Japan is a net importer of food, it does export some things, including seafood and vegetables to China and the United States. China is already testing Japanese food imports.
But we’re safe here, right? Not if the Tea Party and GOP budget slashers in Congress get their way. The recently passed House budget bill gutted $88 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency that inspects the country's meat and poultry. It also hacked $241 million from the food safety budget of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with examining the food supply for tainted food and preventing it from reaching consumers. The cuts could require the agency's 8,600 inspectors to take furloughs of up to five weeks.
Last year Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act which was intended to enhance the safety of America's food supply. In its spending cut mania, the GOP-dominated House intends to hollow it out until the new rules are a mere shell.
This is yet another example of shortsighted slashing of the US regulatory structure aimed at fulfilling the GOP aim of unshackling business, under the guise of balancing the budget.