What Republican deregulation looks like– explosive diarrhea

Okay, I know that’s crude.  But, truly, in a sense that is the reality.  If you’ve ever had serious food poisoning, you know how awful it can be (personally, the worst 48 hours of my life).  No imagine being infected by the worst food-borne pathogen we know, E. Coli O157:H7.  Not pleasant and possibly fatal.  And now think about the fact that in their efforts to limit “burdensome” regulations, the Trump administration makes this more likely to happen to you.  Wired:

William Whitt suffered violent diarrhea for days. But once he began vomiting blood, he knew it was time to rush to the hospital. His body swelled up so much that his wife thought he looked like the Michelin Man, and on the inside, his intestines were inflamed and bleeding.

For four days last spring, doctors struggled to control the infection that was ravaging Whitt, a father of three in western Idaho. The pain was excruciating, even though he was given opioid painkillers intravenously every 10 minutes for days…

The culprit turned out to be E. coli, a powerful pathogen that had contaminated romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, and distributed nationwide. At least 210 people in 36 states were sickened. Five died and 27 suffered kidney failure. The same strain of E. coli that sickened them was detected in a Yuma canal used to irrigate some crops.

For more than a decade, it’s been clear that there’s a gaping hole in American food safety: Growers aren’t required to test their irrigation water for pathogens such as E. coli. As a result, contaminated water can end up on fruits and vegetables.

After several high-profile disease outbreaks linked to food, Congress in 2011 ordered a fix, and produce growers this year would have begun testing their water under rules crafted by the Obama administration’s Food and Drug Administration.

But six months before people were sickened by the contaminated romaine, President Donald Trump’s FDA – responding to pressure from the farm industry and Trump’s order to eliminate regulations – shelved the water-testing rules for at least four years. [emphasis mine]

Despite this deadly outbreak, the FDA has shown no sign of reconsidering its plan to postpone the rules. The agency also is considering major changes, such as allowing some produce growers to test less frequently or find alternatives to water testing to ensure the safety of their crops.

So, seriously, here’s the reality of deregulation– explosive diarrhea, kidney failure, and even a few dead people.  All so agribusiness can save a few bucks on your lettuce.  And I’m pretty damn sure most Americans would quite happily pay more for their fresh produce if it meant it were safer.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to What Republican deregulation looks like– explosive diarrhea

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    We know that Republicans voters ignore the risks, may not believe there are any. Not exactly the same situation but Rick Snyder is still Governor of Michigan in spite of the negligent at best deaths and poisoning of the people in Flint. His policy and other gross failures caused this and others have been indicted but he still sits as Governor. He has done way too little over several years to see that the people affected were made whole by the state. All this is a true national disgrace.
    Meanwhile the President scorns :sh…..e” countries.

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