Friday, April 13, 2007

Graft in Agriculture Beats Food Safety

Woefully, the scandals are rolling in like waves for the most corrupt administration ever to get into power. Now it's the Agriculture Department's use of public funds for totally nonagricultural purposes.

It's been the emphasis of the cretin in chief to make regulations obsolete, and in recent episodes lethal spinach, green onions and pet food have been allowed to get into the food chain without the kind of inspections that American consumers took for granted in previous administrations. In previous posts, I have pointed out that the industries themselves have called for increased safety measures. The food industries are paying for the new neglect of public interests.

Just for nostalgia's sake, let's do instant replay of the mad cow disaster;

Agriculture Department officials overruled field scientists' recommendation to retest an animal that was suspected of harboring mad cow disease last year because they feared a positive finding would undermine confidence in the agency's testing procedures, the department's inspector general said yesterday.

After protests from the inspector general, the specimen was sent to England for retesting and produced the nation's second confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

The incident was described in an audit report assessing the department's surveillance program for the disease.

The report details why scientists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories concluded that a sample from a Texas animal should be tested with other techniques following initial inconclusive findings. It adds that top officials at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) told them not to do the additional tests.

In a conversation at Eschaton this morning, poster Rudy set off several observations about the cretins' appointments for the purpose of disarming the public protections that have been set up over decades of responsible public servants. At Agriculture, the highest offices have taken over the trough at the expense not only of public safety, but of staff in general.

Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., asked Raymond why the Food Safety Inspection Service had paid nearly $500,000 in bonuses to Senior Executive Service employees last year when the agency ran short of money and cut some activities before asking Congress for additional money.

"It is incomprehensible to me how an agency that nearly went bankrupt in fiscal year 2006 and is cutting training for front-line inspectors gave out almost half a million dollars in bonuses to senior executives," DeLauro said. "This is money that could have been used for more training or for more inspectors, but however you look at it, it should have been spent for the public health."

Raymond said the bonus money was departmental and the agency could not reclaim it.

The corruption of America's government is mindnumbing, and played a large part in the 2006 voters' rejection of the Republics who have made this their major achievement. It is going to be crucial to keep them out of power. It is also going to take a long time to root out the corrupt officeholders in the various departments who have been brought in by the White House cabal.

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