A Reasonable Plea – Part 2

Here is just a brief word about the abuse of government power and a call for reform, coupled with a plea to help the Estrella Family Creamery.

I think that most citizens, if asked to articulate in what ways local government abuses power, would (rightly or wrongly) point to cases of domestic police action. We want to use that as an example. (First, we want to note that here at the EC blog, we love the police and are thankful for their service. May God bless our police officers and their families.) From time to time, even among the best organizations, there will be individuals who do not measure up to the excellence of the organization. For example, a particular police officer might use excessive and/or unwarranted force upon the citizenry. If this happens, is the citizenry right to be outraged and cry out for investigation? Most certainly. Here’s why: The United States of America is one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. American liberty and justice are rooted in law. The law is over the citizenry and the police. Indeed, all Americans are called to submit to the law. If there is a purported abuse, the powers that be are obliged to examine the alleged abuse and make sure that the law is honored and upheld. Isn’t this also the case with the agencies of the Federal government? Government agencies (like the FDA) are not above the law, are they?

Some of you older cheese-eaters will recall the abuses of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) back in the 60’s and 70’s. We contend that the current abuses of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are similar to those erstwhile abuses of the IRS. A great kudos, by the way, is due to the many internal reforms that have been instituted in the IRS over the past 30 years. The FDA is in need of similar sorts of internal reform. Neither private citizens nor government agencies are above the law. Further, even if the FDA has been lawful in their heavy-handed treatment of numerous private raw-milk dairies and farms, we would hope that common sense and decency would prevail. We would hope that clear communication between the FDA and the farms under investigation would be in place. We would hope that the FDA (along with the CDC and other appropriate agencies) would put a premium on educating the public regarding food-borne illnesses and bacteria and minimize scare tactics. The public doesn’t need to FEAR injurious bacteria. That does no good. People need to understand what these bacteria are and how they can avoid them. For example, people need to now that there are many types of listeria, and that it’s commonly in soil, dust, fertilizer and food: it is pervasive in our environment. Rather then bull them over and shut them down, we want the FDA more carefully to work with the farms it has recently and will be shutting down. The FDA should be overhauled to present a kinder, gentler approach to the taxpayers with whom it interacts. This would not weaken the effects of the FDA, but would, in fact, greatly strengthen them. We WANT to comply, for we WANT healthy food.

Thus, we call on Dr. Margaret Hamburg (the current commissioner of the FDA) to begin public examinations into the conduct of her agents in the field. Dr. Hamburg (and her field agents) draws her pay from the public coffers. Thus, we think she’s morally obliged to investigate these topics, as the farms the FDA is destroying are paying the taxes that pay her salary. If Dr. Hamburg will not investigate, we call upon members of Congress to conduct hearings and investigations during the 2011 session into increasingly rampant acts of overtly aggressive enforcement by FDA field employees, especially when other strategies have not been attempted first. Specifically, the burden should be placed squarely upon the FDA to document its efforts at outcome-based communication and score-card based facilitation. As a tax-payer, I think this reasonable plea is not too much to ask. Do you?

Please stand with us, donate to the Estrellas (they really need it), and fight to right this abuse of power. Don’t wait to fight until it’s your goods that are being seized and your business that’s being destroyed. Fight now! Start by subscribing to this blog. Throughout the upcoming days and weeks, we’ll offer some more practical ways that you can help. But for now, please think and pray about donating to support the Estrella Family Creamery.

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2 responses to “A Reasonable Plea – Part 2

  1. I am a retired scientist with a Ph.D. in Food Microbiology. I have read your blog and am concerned that you, a food processor, is not concerned with the finding of listeria in your product.
    The fact that listeria is found almost everywhere does not mitigate its potential danger in food products. Please work with FDA, not againt them.

  2. Dr. Fox, this blog is run by friends of the EFC, not the Estrellas themselves. That said, we don’t want to come across like deadly bacteria is not important. It is. The EFC worked for months with FDA and had at least one (I think two) partial recall of specific soft cheeses. They very willingly complied with the FDA on that and on increased sanitation. The kicker came when the FDA asked for a total recall of all their cheeses, which was not warranted. It is our complete desire to work with the FDA. Where the EFC is in error, they will change and comply. We hope that the FDA will also recognize its own heavy-handedness is not helping solve problems. We think that the field agents need to be held to a higher standard, or possibly that the current standards need to be enforced.

    Thanks for coming around, Dr. Fox, and thanks for commenting.

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