The USDA Blues

Y’know, there are times when I love writing about food. But then…then there are times when stupidity rears its little rat-faced head and I want to take a two-by-four and give it a healthy swat.

I think it’s safe to say that we can call the USDA (that’d be the United States Department of Agriculture) a bunch of incompetents. I think it’s clear that the folks in charge of that organization have higher priorities than keeping us citizens safely fed, or even protecting farms and farm workers. Or should I say non-corporate farms and farm workers?

Let’s mark off what the USDA has been able to accomplish this past year…

  • Allow mass-production feedlot only dairies to wear the organic label upon their milk – Check and Check
  • Ease rules intended to prevent the spread of mad-cow disease – Check
  • Delay announcing positive Mad Cow finding – Check
  • Completely mishandle the testing of the latest cattle found with Mad Cow – Check
  • Appointed a General Mills bureaucrat as “Consumer Representative” to the National Organic Standards Board – Check
  • Failed to regulate field trials of genetically engineered crops adequately – Check

With this track record, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it has now been found that the USDA has blocked real investigations of anti-competitive behavior in the livestock industry, while at the same time inflating the number of investigations it has conducted to make it appear it is vigorously upholding the law.

Not only have they been inflating numbers, but some have outright made stuff up.

Employees created the appearance of a high rate of enforcement by logging routine letters and reviews of public data as investigations, according to a report Wednesday by the agency’s inspector general.

Can the USDA provide ANY evidence of things that went right last year? Or are they the second most inept agency in the Federal government, second only to FEMA?

(Thanks to Derrick over at Growers and Grocers for the Heads up)

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