With the recent recall of Similac baby formula, I started to wonder, where the fuck is the protection for the consumer? You may not know this, but the FDA has no legal power to force a company to issue a recall. The great idea is that all-wonderful capitalism will force a company to do a recall because if it harms the customer, it harms profits, and so a recall would be beneficial for both parties -- therefore, no power to the FDA. I see several things wrong with this. Since when has the corporate entity been invested in the best interests of the consumer? Case in point, McDonald’s. I know they may claim that they only provide food that is popular with the public. I call bullshit. How is upping the portion size popular? No one likes to be fat -- and it sure is hard to fight the fat when you’ve got skinny models eating huge hamburgers like it’s an everyday occurrence. How is using sub-par quality food the desire of the eater? It’s not. The company doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that eating more, eating more often, and eating high fat protein with carbohydrates, effects the health of the general populace.
Now, I will take a moment to say that as consumers we have to be smarter, we have to fight that urge (that all of us get at some time) to eat shit like chicken nuggets made from chicken goo and French fries that are only 80% potato and hamburgers that are supplemented with ammonia soaked tendons to fight rampant e-coli. We’re part of the problem too because we are, after all, the ones who keep buying it. But a family of four with two working parents doesn’t have time to worry about where the food is coming from or what its potential added ingredients are. They’re too worried about paying the bills and getting food on the table. Period. Worrying about the actions of a major food corporation is a luxury. Take me for example: I’m a DINK (double income, no kids) household. We both have our undergrads and are preparing for graduate school. I take ballet lessons, at the price of $380 a quarter, for fucks sake. I have all the time in the world to ponder the state of the FDA and the world in general. But I guarantee you if I worked 50 hours a week at two different jobs and we had two little kids to feed, I would be picking up a bag of burgers for dinner on Monday, and maybe $5 pizza on Friday. Why? Because it’s quick and dirty. And that’s all I have time for.
Why doesn’t the company say to themselves, gross -- I would never want to eat that, or have my kids eat that so the consumer wouldn’t want it (even though we apparently will eat anything for a cheap buck). But no. There’s some strange disconnect that goes on in the corporate brain that only has one focus: profits. If it’s cheaper to make chicken nuggets from processed bits of chicken livers, feet, tendons, and whatnot, full steam ahead. I hate these companies. I hate how they've taken something as simple as eating and turned into a numbers game. If revenue is to increase, and you expect that increase to be larger than population growth, that means you’ve got to have every individual eating more. How do you do that? Supersize and $1 menus and 2-for Tuesdays -- which gives us all more food than we need and yet still with a genetic imperative to eat, EAT, EAT! I find myself thinking about ‘The Jungle’; that great work of Sinclair’s that was so fierce it changed an industry and I wonder how did that happen? Why can’t it happen again? Where is our momentum as the repressed class? Make no mistake: we are the repressed class. The tippy top, the upper 9% of the income bracket, they hold all the cards, and we just while away our time in Middle Earth. The CEOs and shareholders of these corporations have lost touch, or perhaps they just don’t care; either way … something needs to change.
Our life expectancy for the current generation of children is less than mine. Aren’t we supposed to be living longer and longer? Not dying young of diabetes complications.
How do beetles get into baby formula exactly?
Why has dinner at the table died a slow and painful death?
Since when did cheap hamburger become a diet staple, and a baked potato suddenly became too damn difficult?
The FDA has several internal problems as well. It’s been essentially cut off at the knees by lobbyists and prior CEOs appointed to key positions within the organization. How can someone have the consumers interests at heart when their house, lifestyle, yacht, maid, prostitutes, are paid for by the very companies they are meant to oversee? It’s impossible. I don’t think these people are necessarily lacking in moral character. That much money blinds you. And they’ve been rewarded by the company for years, they feel loyal to them. That loyalty may be displaced but it’s hard to deny the hand that feeds you.
To those people out there who call for smaller government -- I say piss off. There is no organization with the power to infiltrate and enforce policies within these huge corporations except for the weight of an elected government. And I want safe food. Of course, I have no answers. I just can’t think of a better way to get better food into the mouths of all Americans, rich and poor alike, because I know we’re part of the problem; we’re the feeding end of a hungry hippo that can’t seem to stop opening its collective mouth, even if it’s for complete shite. But even still, knowing all that I know, my humble cry is: Government! Regulate!