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  • Morning Bell: Does The FDA Really Need More Power?

    Our long national nightmare is over. Phusion Projects, the makers of Four Loko brand caffeinated malt beverages, announced yesterday that it will remove the caffeine from its products. Phusion’s decisions came just one day after Senator Chuck Schumer (D–NY) pushed the Food and Drug Administration to ban “these dangerous and toxic drinks.”

    Unfortunately Schumer never explained what exactly makes these drinks “dangerous and toxic.” For now, Americans are still free to buy malt beverages. And for a limited time they are also still free to buy caffeinated drinks like coffee and Red Bull. So please, nobody tell Schumer how easy it is to buy alcohol and caffeine and mix them together. Because then Schumer might pressure the FDA to take away your morning coffee and table wine, too.

    The reality is that there is little known medical evidence that caffeinated malt beverages are less safe than other alcoholic drinks. But that fact is no defense against current FDA power to ban products it deems unsafe for the American people. And now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) wants to grant the FDA even more unaccountable administrative authority. Specifically, he is pushing for passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in the lame duck session that opened this week.

    Representative John Dingell (D–MI), who sponsored the companion bill approved by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) House in July 2009, hailed the proposed act as “a monumental piece of bipartisan legislation that will grant FDA the authorities and resources needed to effectively oversee an increasingly global food marketplace.” And it is true: Our food marketplace is increasingly global. But that does not mean it is any less safe. In fact, the data show that just the opposite is true: Between 1996 and 2009 the rate of confirmed food-borne bacterial contamination has fallen by a third. But science has never been FDA’s strong suit. According to a recent survey by the Government Accountability Office, only 36 percent of FDA managers believe the agency is keeping pace with scientific advances.

    So just how big an expansion of government does Dingell, Pelosi, and Reid want to inflict on the American people to combat a non-existent food safety crisis? Well, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would require 50,000 domestic and foreign inspections in 2015, compared to just 7,400 in 2009. That is a sevenfold increase in government inspections. And the government would be reaching into a lot of new places as well. The act requires that all food “facilities”—including those home-based businesses that make jam, bread, and cheese for local markets—would be required to undertake periodic hazard analyses and produce “risk-based preventive controls.”

    And then there is the wasteful spending that accompanies every liberal expansion of government: grants to schools for allergy management ($107 million); food safety training, education, outreach, and technical assistance ($21 million); and food safety participation grants for states and tribes ($83 million). Heritage Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy Diane Katz writes: “The Reid bill clearly contradicts the message sent by voters just two weeks ago: Americans do not want and cannot afford yet more unnecessary regulation and expansion of government. This proposal constitutes a costly and ineffective answer to a manufactured crisis.”

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: Does The FDA Really Need More Power?

    1. Jill-Maine says:

      I immediately wondered about coffee brandy which is highly abused in the state of Maine? It has coffee and alcohol. It has been around for many, many years. Does Congress have any brains? There are important things to work on and this isn't important.

    2. Betty Waller Lake Ci says:

      Why is it that the FDA harps on one

      product that might be harmful to some, but allows contaminated foods to enter our country from China and other areas of our world that do not control the methods of growing or harvesting foods.

      One example is the shipping of fish into our country from China and Vietnam. The report is that 80% of our fish come from outside the USA and are raised in the most polluted of waters. Illnesses born of these contaminated fish include cancer and other horrendous life threatening germs.

      Why not stop this kind of import?

    3. Brian Coache, Waldor says:

      People it's time to stop the madness. Hold your representatives accountable and make sure you tell you liberal friends to wake up. Lets take back our country! As the past has shown our representatives can't do it alone. It's our responsibility as US citizens to take action and make sure our voices are heard. Thank you to the Heritage Foundation for keeping us all informed.

    4. Bob, Indiana says:

      Doesn't Nancy Pelosi own winerys in CA? Could be cutting down the competition.

    5. Daniel C. Gootee says:

      This One Hits Way Too Close to Home for Me…My Business Is Selling Brewery Collectibles, Especially Empty Beer Cans to Collectors All over the World. In My Opinion, The FDA Has More Power Than It Deserves Already and Is Not Credible Anyway. If That Sounds Outrageous, Then Read "The Hundred Year Lie: How Food And Medicine Are Destroying Your Health" by investigative journalist Randall Fitzgerald. He Has a Lot to Say about the True Motives of the FDA. I Sure Wouldn't Want to Be a Smoker or Tobacco User If This Product Is Deemed “dangerous and toxic.” . What's Next Senator, Apples…Oranges…Homegrown Tomatoes?

    6. Andrew McDowell, Ind says:

      Thank you for beginning to address the government's current and proposed intervention in the foods we eat. But it goes, and will go, far deeper than this excellent article exposes. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is an excellent resource for in depth information on how our freedom to produce and consume the foods we want are deeply threatened by existing and proposed laws. These threats need to be fully exposed and stopped, as they represent a massive stealth attempt by government to take complete control of one of the most fundamental needs of our lives: food. Worse, some existing laws and certainly proposed laws threaten to effectively bring our food structure under international control.

      We the people need food freedom!

    7. Garrett St. Marys, G says:

      There is a strong belief in my house, that Sen.Harry Reid should have a forceful enema twice daily. Once in the a.m. & once in the p.m. Also, once the administrators of such, are dressed & oooeee, they should capture the Pelosi & do the same.

      ooooRah!

      So it is written, so it shall be done!!

    8. Larry Arendas, Terre says:

      I was once an advocate of the FDA, requiring a randomized, double-blind study before considering taking any pill. After viewing a DVD "Burzynski", I am now convinced the FDA has been co-opted by Pharma, the drug industry organization. I was unaware that somewhere around 2000, Pharma convinced the FDA to let drug companies finance drug approval tests. That meant the watchdog was now the employee of the drug companies, or the fox is now watching the henhouse. Get "Burzynski" from http://www.burzynskimovie.com and be prepared to have your blood boil! Factual proof of the FDA trying to suppress an effective brain tumor medication despite the FDA's sole arbiter's affirmation that Burzynski's med works!

    9. Mary....WI says:

      The FDA doesn't have a very pristine record when it comes to approving drugs….I'm remembering Vioxx for one. If we want less government in our lives the dems cannot be voted in come 2012 in any way, shape or form. And the GOP must put action to their words.

    10. Joseph Arsenault Dre says:

      Well those 3 creatures were voted back in so why would anyone expect anything different. As far as they're concerned their people want more of the same so they're going to give it to them.

      Joe A

    11. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Sorry folks, we did our best to unseat Dingell in the last elction.. Rob Steele ran a valiant campaign but lost with by a seven percent margin. Close but no cigar. Pretty amazing for an unknown six months prior to the election.

      The Federal government is like a cancer growing out of control. I pray that the "patient" can be cured but I am beginning to have my doubts.

    12. Dr RJ Williams says:

      Neat tease, Conn! because it fits the situation to a T ~ more seemingly "meaningless tripe" from Sen. Mr. Goodguy that acutally leads us ever closer to living not only within a state of government and by a state of government but for a state of government. Sen. Schumer allegedly represents the state in which I iive but lives on another planet.

    13. Nancy, Georgia says:

      Never let a good crisis go to waste. It will never end.

    14. Nancy, Georgia says:

      "Never let a good crisis go to waste." It will never end.

    15. Alan says:

      Not only does the FDA not need more power but needs less.

      The FDA should have no power and rather only the authority to act on behalf of the citizenry rather than a minority of activist busy-bodies.

      That any agency in the federal bureaucracy has "power" is a contrary notion in the first place.

    16. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Let's look at the facts here: Fact, Four Loko has as much alcohol as 13 beers, Fact:

      When they had that house party at, or near, the University of Washington, the police were called because they thought there was a date rape drug involved, Fact: The FDA was created in response to the medicine shows of the 19th and 20th centuries,

      when traveling con men traveled around the country selling patent medicines, which were no more than alcoholic beverages like Four Loko, disguised as medicine. The

      most famous, or infamous, (depending on your POV), was Lydia Pinkham's Medicinal

      Compound. There's even a song about it. "We'll drink a drink a drink a drink to Lydia

      Pink a Pink a Pink, the savior of the human race! She invented medicinal compound,

      with ramifications in every case!"

    17. Mark Steven Zuelke says:

      This sounds familiar – having very recently read warnings that the BHO admin will try to enforce it's agenda through regulation rather that legislation. There is no stopping him, is there?

    18. Dave, Napa Valley CA says:

      When government uses its powers to block the production of manufacturing of certain goods, without any science or common sense to back up the move, it usually means that some other segment of society is benefiting from less competition. In the case of the new drinks which are similar to "Irish Coffee", maybe other alcohol drink companies see it as a threat to their bottom line. Is the New York senator in the pocket of the Rum manufacturers? Pepsi? Coke?

    19. Betty Huyssoon, FL says:

      I am not interested in having my comments published. I am interested in respectfully requesting the ability to share my thoughts on the subject of corruption, expansive government, wasted time, money and lack of common sense. This all leads in public eyes to the violation of human rights, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under gainful and responsible employ in truth, love, accountability. Next to God comes the family, and the country goes hand in hand with God, and then work.

      I wish to ask you in your great ability to provide knowledge and truth to our present socio-economic-political living in the US, how you think we can stop all of this immediately. Plant these satanic leaders and stop them in their tracks. Our massive armies without weapons (real or metallic), but mindful and justifiably disturbed, angered, and desirous of doing something now. How can we paralize this government? No matter wjhat! Stop them in their tracks. What measures could be taken immediately? Sacrifice is no ofject if there are positive results. If you heard Glenn Beck this morning you would realize how imperative this is needed. A blow to the head…don't let the conservative Congress give them a tiny bipartisan breath of health and heed to their sly offers. This is enough already! If the arm is completely with gangrene, cut it off. And so with the head! God Bless you and Guide you each moment of the day. Betty Huyssoon

    20. AD - Downey CA says:

      The next thing we know, alcoholic cappucinos will be banned, and woe onto anyone foolish enough to have a coffee pot and a bottle of Irish Whiskey within reach.

      To quote The Bard:

      Will no one rid (us) of these meddlesome priests?

      …for that is what they are, high-priests of a new nanny-cult that wishes to subjugate all of us to their enlightened vision with the operating principle of "Do as I say, not as I do"!

    21. Joe Collins, Bremert says:

      I agree….The FDA needs to be reigned in, not given more dictatorship…. The FDA is corrupt, it takes money from various groups it is suppose to inspect with oversight for the public… I would like to see the FDA reduced in scope…Place oversite for the public at the local level….and there are several oversite groups already setup… such as GMP ( Good Manufacture Practice)…. The FDA is like many Federal programs,,, it may have started as a good idea,, but has become bloated and to big.. It no longer delivers for the common man,, a good example are the many drugs passed for use,, and then a few years pass and they have law suits and recalls on the very same drugs…..Congress needs to step in; instead of giving them more power,, they need to completely shut them down and start anew, or revamp them,,, because they are terrible at what they do.. …period.

    22. Alan Robbins, Pinckn says:

      Great research Mr. Carroll as always. Is there any chance they will pass this bloated piece of liberal goverment hand out? I hope not.

    23. toledofan says:

      I guess, for me, I'd like to know what makes these guys experts on anything? You're right, what's the science and why is it so dangerous? I think that the FDA, EPA, Department of Education, just to name a few, have become so big and the bloated that the bureaucracy makes them ineffective. I think that, soon, there needs to be a complete revamp and streamlining of all government agencies and the monies should be spent and invested where the country gets a bang for it's buck. Just look at the pandemic flu virus scare last year and the amount of money that was wasted by the Department of Health and Human Serivices. There are example after example, somebody just needs to take the time and effort to start fixing the problems.

    24. Carl, Spokane says:

      The comments on the FDA are illogical. If airborne comtaminates have decreased that much since 1999 does that not show that the FDA is doing it's job? With food science moving forward so fast, of course the FDA will be behind the curve. The fereral government has a few jobs that I want them to do very well. Portecting food sources is one of them. Do I really want less control over the food sent to the US from China ( powered milk), Serbia or one of the Berzerkastans

    25. Gil Solnin says:

      The problem is not a particular brand or even the category. Alcohol abuse on college campuses is an ongoing problem and transcends the latest scapegoat which is Phusion's FOUR Loko. When the Federal government forced states to raise their drinking age to 21 it did little than to placate people's fears. It did not stop underage drinking. What did reduce drinking and driving problems was education. As far as underage binge drinking particularly on college campuses, that has been an ongoing problem that college administrators cannot control because they cannot directly acknowledge that most of their student body is not legally allowed to drink (although they do).

      What happened in New York State was that the wholesalers decided not to accept any further shipments until the product formula changed. It was not the NYS government.

      It is also worth noting that one of the more popular mixed drinks today is vodak and Red Bull. I wonder if this will become a set of dominos where the government will ban one mixer after another – including coca-cola.

    26. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      I'll ADD the FDA to what the HF HATES

      The HF HATES -

      FDA

      Needy

      Workers – Anti-Union

      Sick – Anti=HCare

      Public Schools – Pro-Vouchers

      Recovery – Anti-Tax the Rich

      Women – Women can NOT use Birth Control

      Taxes on the Rich

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    27. Randy, Tulsa OK says:

      I think conservatives will meet with resistance when making the argument of this article from parents that don't want this type of drink easily getting into the hands of teens and young adults where the results HAVE been a problem. Parents want this off the market.

      Where we can resonate the conservative line and yet still be shown to care for the youth of our country is to allow the situation to be handled as we did in Oklahoma. The state of OK banned FourLoco weeks ago. While you may cry foul for having any government declare the combination of two otherwise legal substances illegal, is not the proper place to argue this type of issue at the state or county level?

      So while I agree the heart of this article I think it swings the pendulum too far. Give the power to the states. State citizens will take it from there.

    28. Babs CA says:

      I am delighted that the Heritage Foundation is paying attention to the FDA. I also read the article yesterday but there was no means to leave a comment.

      I am a Dietician and I have been watching the power building. Firstly the FDA attacked the Dessicated Thyroid market creating a shortage of supply for Thyroid Patients that require that formulation. Many people suffered illnesses without this medication that has been available for a century and despite massive attempts by Thyroid Patients little was accomplished. One cannot communicate with the FDA as all answers are unrelated “canned responses” often with Links that do not work..I took the matter to my local Congressman resulting in a Zilch Zero Nada! It seems the FDA are attacking particular firms for whatever reasons. But to cause damage to people’s health by a directive of the powers that be is criminal.

      Now the FDA Power is to be expanded! We must STOP this Insanity of the present administration, They are dangerous to our health and well being. Next they will be deciding what Medication we can take regardless of our needs

    29. Dr. Eleanor Nicholls says:

      The Heritage are doing a great job with the Morning Bell — a super way for all of us to keep up to date on disappearing freedoms and contraventions of the rule of law. Please tell Diane Katz she is doing a very good job — Congrats from a former "colleague". eleanor nicholls

    30. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      Is it just me or does everything the Goverment gets involved in turn into a disaster? We have had several health programs in place for a while, they inspect imported plants, foods, packing companies and local health depts. inspect restuarants and grocery stores, etc. We do not need the feds getting anymore involved. The next thing you know someone will knock on your door and inspect your pantry, frig and freezer, if they find food that they deem is unhealthy, they will fine you. If we let one of our freedoms be taken from us, we soon will have none to defend.

    31. Gary Wise says:

      A more disasterous bill is one in which the FDA can fine and aatake your property for growing a garden. Senate Bill S 510 Food Safety Modernization Act vote imminent: Would outlaw gardening and saving seeds. Check that out!

    32. Bob, Raleigh, NC says:

      The FDA, in my opinion, is horribly broken. Where were these bureaucratic buffoons to be found in protecting the public welfare in what led up to the samonnella outbreak with over a half a billion contaminated hen eggs? And what about some of the questionable medications that are approved by them??— the ones where the list of possible side effects are speed spoken on their commercials. Are the people to blindly accept the many obscure side effects that are possibly injurious to their health should they take the medicine?!

      Reagan had it so right in his tout that, 'government is not the solution, government is the problem.'

    33. Lydia Shelley, Holly says:

      If they're banning dangerous substances, shouldn't they start with alcohol??? And if caffeine is considered an unsafe additive to alcohol will they seek to abolish Irish Coffee or Rum & Coke?

      Why is it that every time some bozo college student does something stupid the rest of the country gets penalized for it?

    34. Larry, Utah says:

      My hope is that we can roll back government rather than expanding it, but the fda is only the tip of the iceberg. We desperately need to get the federal govt. out of education. It is there that they are doing the most damage. They are brainwashing our school kids at all levels to accept socialistic ideas and making them believe that the government has the answer to all their needs. The fact is that whenever the federal government gets involved in social issues and programs people are worse off instead of better off. Our freedoms are being eroded more and more everyday by Washington's intrusions into so many aspects of our lives. We need to reverse that trend now. Thanks, Larry

    35. PippN, Severna Park says:

      Food born contamination has fallen by 33% since 1996. Of the FDA management, 64% believe they are "not" keeping pace with scientific advances.

      Put a decline in the necessity for FDA intervention in the same boat with incompetence. Then, add on typical liberal, wasteful spending and there you have it. It's called, "Why We Handed Them Their Hats on NOV 2nd!"

      Do they get it? No. Of course not. It's why they lost so miserably. And, why Ken is now the unofficial HF cry baby.

      Will they get it? They don't have to. We're going to finish the job in 2012.

    36. Jackson - Denton, Te says:

      Here we go again, more socialist intrusion into OUR lives. Who gives a crap about the science? The point is, who are the FDA or anyone else to tell me what to drink or eat? AND the US Congress bozos like Chuckie Schumer overseeing the FDA? That is a classic case of the fox in charge of the henhouse. I don't trust these flaming idiots for one second – they are part of the reason prescription drugs are so costly.

      Finally, for the record: HF doesn't hate anyone but as an HF member and supporter I dislike boneheads that voted for morons like scary harry reid, a blight on society.

    37. rosemarie, fresno says:

      THIS GOVERMENT AND THIS

      ADMINISTRTION STINK TO HAVEN

      WE MUST HAVE OBAME REMOVED

      IMPEACH HIM

      IN 2 YEARS HI CAN DO A LOT OF DAMAGE

      WE HAVE NOT MUTCH TIME TO TRYE AND ASTOP THE INSANITY

      OF HIS ADMINISTRATION TO SAVE OUER COUNTRY

      I KNOW SOME WILL SAY THAT I`M A NERD , BUT SO BE IT

      YOUR FRIDOM IS ON THE LINE ,

      ADOPTED THIS COUNTRY AS MY ON

    38. Charie, Wisconsin says:

      The federal government needs to stick to the jobs explicitly given it by the Constitution. It has run far afield from what the Founders intended. Someone here said, "What's next, Apples…. oranges…. etc.?" They already just about destroyed the apple industry for a couple of years. Remember Alar? And the feds answer was to haul in some Hollywood types to cry about Alar?

      How about the years they cratered the cranberry industry? I'm surprised any business can make it's way in this country.

    39. Patsy at Arlington, says:

      Our children don't have enough "healthy" germs to give them gradual immunity to more illnesses, what with too many anti-biotics without evidence of need. But it quickly calms nervous mothers….

    40. laurie, Hawaii says:

      Please, POLOSI, REID, ALL OF YOU, Stop the non-sense of more beaurocratic regulations that is destroying the country's businesses and lives. We are very soon worse off than the Chinese, Russians under the Dictators. We are miserable with your craziness and drunk hypocritic ways. Laurie in Hawaii

    41. John Denver, Colorad says:

      You need a Driver's License to buy cold tablets! They'll ban what they want, when they want.

    42. Judy says:

      Freedommmmmmmmm. No more big Vogt plans. I have had enough of these dim people telling us what to do. We need protection from the congress and From this administrtion.

    43. Melba Texas says:

      The FDA acts more and more like the Gestapo as it flexes its muscles to control more of our life. I think an adult can figure out what they want to eat or drink without some jerk in Washington deciding what 'is good for them'. And, it is the individual's personal responsibility to care for his own health. Personally I don't think the FDA does a good job in the areas where it should be working. It waits until some food product that makes people sick hits the market and then makes another big power grab. Why don't they just supervise the cleanup and make sure it doesn't happen again?

    44. Gerardine Reed 102 K says:

      I am confused by your article. The Senate Bill 510 was passed in the Senate yesterday, 11/18. That's the Food Safety Modernization Act. It has been described by the Pew Charitable Trusts as a "clear and present danger". The House Bill is HR2749. It is a companion bill, but is even more intrusive by giving the government power " to prohibit movement of any and all foods into or out of a given area". This bill has not yet been passed but sounds even more draconian than the Senate bill. I can't tell which bill your article addresses. I consider them both to be disastrous to our economy and our personal liberties.

      Of greater concern to me is the information I gleaned about the Senate Bill. There were 12 co-sponsors. Of those, 7 of them are Republicans. The bill passed in the Senate with yea votes from all Dems and 14 Republicans, including Barasso, Thune and Grassley. What are these people thinking? Do they not understand that we are trying to shrink, not grow government intrusion and authority? They now have control over air, energy, food, water and health care. We are totally at their mercy!

    45. Pingback: Nanny State Returns in Lame-Duck Session | NetRight Daily

    46. Robert Morrow, New M says:

      The FDA does not need more power as it allow the murder of 100 citizens every 22 minutes with poison drugs, pushed by Big Pharmaceutical co. with TV ads and by many so call MD which are only drug pusher just like the one on the streets in big cities. I know every time I visit most doctors they push drugs. Here take this just in case. My Question is what is it for and what are the side effects, besides I am not going to take poison just because. With Search engine everyone has the duty to look at the side effect of the poisons push by the FDA, (a shadow government with no controls) Pharmaceutical and Doctors for profit only. I want the FDA funds removed from them and then cut the Agency all together. Of course even though I voice this to my corrupt elected officials, I do not have the money or 30 pieces of Sliver like the Pharmaceutical to buy them back to the people.

    47. Pingback: GetLiberty.org >> Home

    48. CUFFIE/OHIO says:

      Sorry but I can do without the drinks. My concern is the FDA intends to manage all our food supplies and outlaw any food not grown under FDA supervision. This is not just for food that will enter the marketplace; it will include home gardens as the bill is now written. Enough is enough. First they molest us at airports, now they want to ban the most nutritious and safest of our foods.

    49. Fred Albert says:

      Do any of you folks actually take the time to investigate the simple-minded malarkey that's posted here? Read the GAO report that's linked as evidence that science is not the FDA's "strong suit." Or don't, and just stick to your knee-jerk, uninformed opinions. When your kids die of kidney failure from a tainted hamburger, you can knee-jerk in the other direction.

    50. Pingback: Morning Bell: Freeze Taxes, Freeze Spending, and Go Home | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    51. Pingback: The nanny state shifts into turbo drive: FDA wants dominion over our food choices « Clear Thinking

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