This week on Surviving The 21st Century the team of Mannie Barling, Ashley F. Brooks and Simon Barrett decided to take a long hard look at food and drug recalls.

I have to admit that the more I looked, the less happy I became.

Most people have little idea what the purpose of the USDA and FDA are. If you ask the average shopper in the supermarket meat section what the USDA does, you will more than likely get the response, they grade meat so that the Supermarket knows how much to charge.

It is an incorrect answer, but one that is widely accepted. One only has to look at the labels on the packages of meat and the corresponding price tag to see where this idea comes from.

Equally if you ask people what the FDA does, you get an interesting array of views. Some people will merely give you a blank look and ask if it is some professional sporting organization. Some will tell you that it is the group that makes sure new medicinal drugs are safe. A few people might even explain that the FDA are the people that test our food so when it hits the supermarket it is safe to eat.

None of these anwers are correct, yet each is correct in a certain way.

The USDA does indeed grade meat, but they do not inspect each steak! To a large extent the industry is ‘self policing’. Or to put it in less glamorous terms, the foxes guard the hen house.

The FDA is very similar in their approach, they do little that is proactive, as in preventing problems, but much in the way of ‘reactive’ problem mitigation.

It is easy to mistake the two terms of proactive and reactive. Proactive means that you are in the business to prevent something, reactive means that the something has already happened, and now you must deal with it!

Have you noticed that when a food recall is issued the product has already hit the supermarket shelves?

These recalls are not over one hobby farmer selling a 100 pounds of over ripe turnips, they are about selling over half a billion eggs infested with a virus. That is almost two eggs for every person living in the US.

One would think that the FDA might have ‘nipped the problem in the bud’ by checking the eggs before they entered the food chain. Of course they did not. Egggate still blows my mind. What did they do with your two eggs? One would hope that they destroyed them, right?

No, completely wrong. Big Food explained that a little virus here and there was not a big deal. Big Food knew how to deal with the issue. So your two eggs ended up in a baked good in some supermarket. The eggs were unsafe for home use, but apparently just fine for Big Food.

Both the USDA and FDA are financed by our tax payer dollars, but they are independent of government and industry interference, right?


The top spots in both organizations are political appointments. Please don’t forget that Big Food and Big Pharma are also BIG contributors to the political process. It doesn’t matter the party in power, money just flows.

If you missed our live broadcast about recalls you can listen to the recording here.

Simon Barrett

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at, Amazon and booksellers everywhere. The authors latest book, The Food Revolution Papers – A Primer on What’s in Your Food, is due in bookstores on October 1, 2011.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks are the co-hosts of Surviving the 21st Century with Simon Barrett on Blogger News Network on Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. PST/1:00 PM EST and The Food Revolution Papers, on Thursday mornings at 9:00 AM PST, 12:00 noon PST, found at or Blog Talk Radio.

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