Thursday, February 22, 2007

Meat Inspections: A Cut Back Masquerading As An Increase

There's a story on CBSNews.com that's confusing the hell out of me.

The story starts out sounding pretty good:
Stepped-up inspections at some meat and poultry plants are set to begin in April, according to an Agriculture Department official overseeing the first overhaul of food safety inspections in a decade.
Not bad, right? Considering the large number of food-processing related stories over the past year it's nice to hear that the US government is doing something right. But then it gets murky:
Food safety critics weren't pleased. Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy for Consumer Federation of America, called the policy reckless and illegal. She said the new policy was the result of the White House's desire to reduce spending and "will almost surely result in more illnesses and more deaths from food poisoning."
What? Oh, right, see this is what they're talking about:
Plants with fewer risks and better food-handling records will be inspected less often.
So what's really going to happen is that the administration has figured out a way to cut back on regulation, while making it sound like they're doing more.

And that, my friend, is called burying the lede.

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