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FDA to incinerate British food donations

Posted by Richard on September 22, 2005

Thanks to The Agitator for pointing out this UK Mirror story about another bizarre development on the Katrina relief front:

HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

The 400,000 "operational ration packs" — the British military’s equivalent of our MREs (meals ready to eat) — were impounded and trucked to Little Rock to be destroyed at an FDA incinerator. An unnamed British aid worker called it senseless and said colleagues were "spitting blood":

"The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are Nato approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.

"Under Nato, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness."

The Brits aren’t the only ones to have their generous donations rejected by officious FDA and USDA bureaucrats:

Food from Spain and Italy is also being held because it fails to meet US standards and has been judged unfit for human consumption.

And Israeli relief agencies are furious that thousands of gallons of pear juice are to be destroyed because it has been judged unfit.

The FDA is one of my least favorite regulatory agencies (and that’s saying a lot!). At least since the years when David Kessler was Clinton’s FDA commissioner, it’s been the home of some of the most arrogant, self-righteous, messianic, and paternalistic bureaucrats in the federal government. Their officious insistence on protecting the residents of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana from food that’s eaten by Israelis, Spaniards, Italians, and both British and American soldiers is beyond outrageous. It makes me long for the days when tar, feathers, and rails were sometimes combined to good purpose.

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2 Responses to “FDA to incinerate British food donations”

  1. anonymous said

    Please read the whole article. It sounds like hysterical crap. First off, the food hasn’t been burned yet; it’s being held in a warehouse. Second, it screams about “starving Katrina victims” and is dated 9/19. No Katrina victims are starving, and many have turned up their noses at the US MRE’s they’ve been given. As to the Israeli juice, I’d likely trust that their methods or pasteurization are up to snuff, but, frankly, we are now seeing what happens when a population demands that the government act as their “royal food taster.” Please also imagine the headlines if a bunce of Israeli juice had a bacterial contaminant that sickened “impoverished” black former New Oleanians. We may just have the government we deserve after all.

  2. Anonymous said

    Anon, I read the whole article. You’re correct — “starving” is over the top. But the Brits are a bit upset, and I can understand why — their generosity has been spat upon and their national pride hurt.

    What’s “hasn’t been burned yet” got to do with it? The FDA said food routinely eaten by U.S. soldiers in Iraq is “unfit for human consumption,” an absurd declaration not made less so just because they haven’t fired up the incinerator just yet.

    After that, you lost me — you seemed to veer into criticism of the paternalism at the root of this, but then you dart off into “what if the Israeli juice made people sick?” — I’m not sure you really know what your point is, other than to sneer at me, the Brits, the Katrina victims, and everybody else with your quite tiresome air of cynicism and superiority.

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