"Please Regulate Us," Grocers Scream - Oceana USA
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2007-09-21 00:00:00

“Please Regulate Us,” Grocers Scream

BY: smahan

The Wall Street Journal published an article a couple days ago that had even the most progressive grocers applauding — if they weren’t scratching their heads. …

The article, “Food Makers Get Appetite for Regulation” outlined how the Grocery Manufacturers Association (read: grocery industry lobbyists) wanted the feds to increase inspections on imported foods.  Evidently all that toxic seafood and poisoned toothpaste has caused some consumers to second guess the food they eat.

GMA President Cal Dooley summed it up quite nicely:  “It’s in our interest to have a strong FDA. We need to have consumer confidence in the food products.”

To combat the problem of consumers becoming more cautious, the GMA is voluntarily offering to spend $200 million to increase food safety.  Wait … oh, now I get it.  They’re proposing spending $200 million in taxpayer dollars.

Even the National Fisheries Institute (read: fishing industry lobbyists) is on board with spending our money.

But why is it that if a strong FDA is good for business, the businesses want to keep the FDA away from their seafood counters?(Continued)Oceana has had a seafood contamination campaign asking grocery stores to voluntarily post the FDA issued advice about mercury in seafood.  Several grocery stores have bitten, like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Albertsons and Safeway.  Others have bitten back and refused to post the signs.

In 2004, the EPA and FDA issued a joint fish consumption advisory saying that women of childbearing age and young children should not consume swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish or sharks because mercury levels in those fish are high.  Also, those groups should limit their consumption of albacore tuna to six ounces or less per week.  All other fish is fair game for up to 12 ounces a week.  But having this advisory at grocery counters is not mandated by the FDA nor do many grocery companies want to post the advice.

While $200 million would go a long way to reduce the risks from imported foods, I suggest grocery companies spend a dollar for each store and hang a sign at seafood counters.