I wrote a few imaginary New Year’s resolutions for some of our newsmakers that we haven’t gotten around to publishing until now. As the great Willie Nelson would say: “Funny how time slips away.”
Truth be told, some of my colleagues thought I was being too harsh on the government this year. I don’t think that’s possible, but I do acknowledge my usual tactic of being hard on the government while giving most individuals in it a break is hard to pull off when doing resolutions.
I am hoping that the one thing we can all resolve to do in 2013 is to leave behind all the edgy feelings we were carrying around about politics and policy during the past election year. More listening would be a good place to start. Read more books and ignore more tweets.
So lighten up and think about all the possibilities if:
President Barack Obama would resolve to hand over his food safety responsibilities to the First Lady. She’s done really well with the Garden and that “Let’s Move” campaign. Better than running around doing things at the last minute, don’t you think?
First Lady Michelle Obama would then have to resolve to give the President a break. He left a lot undone in the first term, but he had a lot of distractions, as most men do.
Vice President Joe Biden would resolve to accept his fiscal cliff “deal” with Mitch McConnell was as good as it gets. In four years, Biden’s only real purpose will be to make Hillary Clinton look younger.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack would resolve to fire the whole USDA public relations department. He spent four years protecting farmers and ranchers from harm and ended up with Mitt Romney being first in hearts of 59 percent of rural America.
Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen would resolve to take some time off to make up for doing a year’s worth of work after last November’s election.
Al Almanza, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator, would resolve to get horse and ride it in a few parades before he has to make any decisions about FSIS providing equine inspection services. It won’t change anything, but will help his image before he has to do what he has to do.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius would resolve to remember that she is not in Kansas anymore, and in Washington D.C. missteps can put you under the bus.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg would resolve in 2013 to devote at least one third of her time to food safety as she recognizes how implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act is going to determine her success or failure.
FDA Assistant Commissioner for Food Michael Taylor would resolve that his great talents and experience alone cannot turn the battleship FDA to make FSMA work. Ask for all the help you need Mr. Taylor.
Dr. David E. Gombas, senior VP for food safety and technology, at United Fresh Produce would resolve to come up with an excuse as to why there is practically no microbiological testing of fresh produce in America other than his group killed it because such findings might be “taken out of context.”
William Watson, Executive Director, National Mango Board, would resolve to get serious about that March 6, 2013 food safety conference you’ve got planned – finally.
Gov. Mitch Daniels would resolve to be far more serious about food safety as Perdue University’s new president than he ever was as Governor of Indiana. His lack of leadership was as much responsible for illnesses and deaths, as the inaction of Chamberlain Farms.
John Clifford, USDA’s chief veterinarian, would resolve to reject–no matter how tempting–the Brazil model for reporting Mad Cow incidents, whereby official reports are hidden from international authorities for months to lessen trade impacts.
David C. Novak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands Inc., will resolve to drop a note to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to say if Taco Bell or any of the other units of “Yum! Brands Inc. are involved in a food safety investigation, their names should be released to the press because publicly traded companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to be completely transparent. And besides, when people think of Yum! Inc., Novak wants them to think “food safety.”
Oh, Novak should also resolve to persuade CDC to stop referring to Taco Bell as “Restaurant A.” At this point, it just sounds ridiculous.