Sunday, January 29, 2012


Industry is invariably averse to any strict surveillance against their questionable practices among some of its members and will never agree, if given an option, in making any standards stricter. There are hundreds of instances in the history of food industry during the last hundred years to prove the point that result of any voluntary action for making the food safer and healthy at best is very disappointing! take for instance the current efforts on moderating salt or sugar or fat in processed foods which do not seem to be taking the world any where near a solution to the obesity epidemic that promises to make people sick and morbid progressively! Voluntary action by the processing industry, if really sincere could have reduced the number of unhealthy foods and limited the aggressive commercial promotion significantly but it can only be a Utopian dream with very little chance of success. Here comes the latest instance of industry defiance to an innocuous proposal to curtail presence of the deadly Dioxins in foods in the US.   

'Farmers and the food industry are trying to kill a proposed safety standard for dioxins, chemicals that can cause cancer and are widely found in meat, seafood and dairy products. Industry groups say a daily exposure limit for dioxin proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency isn't justified and could unnecessarily scare consumers away from meat and milk products. An individual could ingest more than the proposed daily limit of dioxin in a single meal, the groups say. "The implications of this action are chilling," they said in a recent letter to the White House. "EPA is proposing to create a situation in which most U.S. agricultural products could arbitrarily be classified as unfit for consumption." The proposed standard would not by itself trigger any regulations on farmers or food companies, but the government could later recommend measures, including restrictions on the content of livestock feed, to reduce the amount of dioxins that people could consume. The dioxin limit is the latest health and environmental issue that has pitted the Obama administration against industries who claim they're being subjected to unwarranted, job-stifling rules and regulations. "Dioxin is one of the most notorious and most studied chemicals," said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. "The industry is trying to change the definition of what is safe to avoid any further scrutiny."

It is laughable to listen to industry captains that a move like this would "scare" the consumers as if they are blissfully happy with the current range of products offered in the market! Main stream industry players must introspect regarding the progressive inroads made by the organic food industry in food business at their expense and the reasons for the same. The simple answer is lack of trust on the industry to deliver safe and healthy foods to the people. If there are technical reasons to resist such consumer safety restrictions, same much be orchestrated in a more transparent manner, in stead of indulging in shadow boxing and semantics. If one looks at history, all innovations to find alternative options for unsafe practices, take place only when forced to do so under duress! Without waiting for any nod from the industry, restrictions on Dioxin content in foods must be enforced legally.  Citizen's life is too precious to be sacrifieced to please the industry!


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