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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/9/15

How About Some Chemical Waste With Your Fish?

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

Foodborne Illness

You might want to think twice about the food that you're eating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 48 million Americans get sick from food-borne viruses and diseases each year.

Of those 48 million Americans, 128,000 have to be hospitalized and an astonishing 3,000 die because of food-borne illnesses.

Somehow, the food industry and our government are still letting millions of citizens get sick each and every year from completely preventable food-borne illnesses.

The fact is that our food safety system is completely out of whack.

For example, the US imports 3 billion pounds of meat each year. Of that 3 billion pounds, 85 million pounds is catfish that's imported annually from Vietnam.

That Vietnamese catfish mostly comes from the Mekong River. And, according to the Economy in Crisis blog, each year 220,000 tons of industrial waste is dumped into the Mekong River.

That means that before the catfish are exported here, they're swimming -- and bottom feeding, which is what catfish do -- in a river filled with toxic chemicals. Yum.

The Vietnamese catfish story is just one example of how broken food safety is in the US today.

A major reason for that is an incredible lack of federal funding -- also known as Republican austerity.

As the Economy in Crisis blog points out, the FDA has nowhere near the money it needs to keep Americans safe from tainted food.

In fact, the FDA only has the funding to inspect around 1 to 2 percent of all food that's imported to the US.

So 98-99 percent of all food imported into the US is getting into our markets without any screening for possible food-borne viruses and diseases.

Back in 2010, Congress tried to do something about that.

In the wake of thousands of people getting sick from various food-borne illness outbreaks, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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