How would President Romney approach food safety?
Until it was released after adoption by the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the 2012 National GOP Platform was a better kept secret than many a national defense document.
The 62-page Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan platform was released Tuesday by convention officials. Before then a few pieces had leaked out, but no advance review copy.
For federal food safety agencies, especially the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), being omitted from almost any mention in the platform might be a good thing.
Federal agencies coming in for a lot of specific mentions in the 2012 Republican Platform, including EPA, TSA and the U.S. Post Office, are getting ink in the document because the GOP wants in various combinations to cut their powers, privatize their workforces, and end their mandates.
By comparison, FDA, FSIS, and other parts of the federal food safety system seem to have escaped Republican attention in the platform document. (FDA does come in for a little of the GOP’s “love” where the platform calls for accelerated drug and medical device approvals).
For the food safety community, however, the question remains: what would a Romney Presidency mean?
It was not that long ago and not that far away that Mitt Romney was Governor of the liberal Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
As history has shown, time and time again, if Romney moves from the GOP Convention in Tampa to the White House over the next two months, many political experts say it will be his term as governor that will be the best predictor of who he will be as the 45th President of the United States.
After all, convention platforms are rarely used by either party to guide policies once they get to the White House.
When it comes to food safety, the line between Governor Romney and President Romney will likely be a pretty straight one, so the thinking goes.
What is meant by that is that when he governed from Boston’s Beacon Hill, Romney’s approach was to avoid raising taxes by raising fees and cutting back on loopholes. He hadn’t taken any “no new taxes” pledges. It was just his preferred approach to government.
The capacity to augment food safety in Massachusetts was shored up by fee increases during Romney’s tenure. So were a lot of other fees for other government services.
So if Romney is elected President, it is entirely possible that:
– The new President will pick up right where the outgoing President left off. Romney will support inspection fees and other charges the Obama Administration had first supported to raise funds for the expanded operations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce the Food Safety and Modernization Act.
– The Romney Administration will expand the rationale for charging fees for meat, poultry and egg, ending the more than 100-year-old taxpayer-funded gravy train for the meat industry. It is more likely that we will see taxpayer-supported inspection activity phased out by fees for extra and disciplinary inspections first.
As Food Safety News reported earlier, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan did not vote for FSMA, which easily passed the 110th Congress with big bipartisan majorities.
Many say reading too much into Ryan’s vote might be a mistake. The FSMA vote was so one-sided that his vote was not needed.
As for other policy pronouncements involving food safety, there aren’t many. The “Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Jobs” has been available on the candidate’s website for some time.
The Romney policy is a long creed against financial regulation. In short, there does not appear to be anything in either the new GOP platform or the Romney/Ryan website that indicates that the food safety system won’t keep rolling along if there is a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.© Food Safety News