After much thought and consideration, here is the Food Safety News Naughty list for 2009:
NAUGHTY: Stewart Parnell, President of Peanut Corporation of America, for asking for nearly $1 million from his bankrupt business for his own criminal defense fund after shipping peanuts his own tests showed were contaminated with Salmonella that sickened over 700 and killed at least nine. (See “PCA Executives To Divide $875,000,” Dec 11, 2009)
NAUGHTY: President Obama for NOT appointing a new permanent U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food Safety. ALSO NAUGHTY: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for making excuses about it. (See “FSIS Remains Leaderless,” Oct. 16, 2009)
NAUGHTY: Some raw milk, small and sustainable agriculture advocates who confused the entire food safety debate by making and circulating false claims about the bills. It really is about food safety, and is not a gigantic conspiracy by Monsanto to wipe out organic and backyard farms!
NAUGHTY: FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the U.S. District Attorney in Georgia for moving so slowly with the criminal investigations of the Peanut Corporation of America and its executives, including Stewart Parnell. (See “One Year Later, Still no Charges for PCA,” Nov 07, 2009)
NAUGHTY: President Obama and Vice-President Biden for ordering undercooked hamburgers for the Press Corps at a DC restaurant with less than stellar inspection reports.
NAUGHTY: Washington State University for removing Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” from the Common Reading Program.
NAUGHTY: The FDA for caving to political pressure and backing down on oyster regulations. (See “Under Pressure, FDA Puts Oyster Policy On Hold,” Nov 14, 2009)
NAUGHTY: The Senate for being too slow on health care reform to pass meaningful–and decades overdue–food safety legislation before the Holidays.
NAUGHTY: Weston A. Price Foundation for more denial of outbreaks and giving consumers false information about raw milk safety.
NAUGHTY: FDA for its failure to control ridiculous health claims like Kellogg’s claiming that Cocoa Krispies are a “Smart Choice” because it “helps support your child’s immunity.” (See “Do Krispies Boost Kids’ Immune Systems?” Nov 01, 2009)
NAUGHTY: J. Patrick Boyle of the American Meat Institute for trying to dynamite the Senate food safety bill even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the meat industry.
NAUGHTY: State public health department officials attending the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference in October who put industry profits ahead of public health.
NAUGHTY: Rep. Charlie Melancon for declaring the death of 15 people a year is not too high a price to pay for a U.S. Senate seat in an oyster growing State. (See “Under Pressure, FDA Puts Oyster Policy On Hold,” Nov 14, 2009)
NAUGHTY: Secretary Vilsack and White House for trying, in the name of free trade, to roll over Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s efforts to assure that the US does not permit poultry processors from shipping raw poultry meat from the US to China for processing and shipping back to the US for sale until USDA has determined that China’s inspection program is equivalent to ours. (See “Deal Reached on Poultry Imports,” Sep 27, 2009)
NAUGHTY: FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg for urging Congress to give the Agency authority to reduce the intensity of inspections if they don’t get all the money they ask for.
NAUGHTY: The FDA staff that keeps appealing to consumer advocates, “don’t set us up to fail,” when consumer advocates push for more inspection. They never say, “help us get the law and resources we need to protect people.”
This list is a compilation of submissions from the Food Safety News publisher, staff, readers, and food safety experts.